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While the Annals of Albany were in the course of publication, I 
learned that Mr. Gorham A. Worth, president of the City Bank of 
New York, had written some reminiscences of Albany ; where- 
upon I wrote to solicit the contribution of them to my work. He 
replied that they were unsuited to my purpose, but he would soon 
call upon me with a view to their separate publication. Happen- 
ing to be absent when he called, the work fell into other hands. 
The first edition in 1849 was comprised in a thin pamphlet, but 
was soon followed by an enlarged work, embracing Recollections of 
Hudson. Both were published by Mr. C. Van Benthuysen, in an 
attractive style of typography. The last edition appeared in 1850, 
and has long been out of print. The author died in 1856, aged 73. 
I have been unable to obtain any information concerning his per- 
sonal history from his descendants, but learn that his father went 
from Nantucket to tiie district in Dutchess county then known as 
the Nine Partners, and afterwards taught school in Hudson. Mr. 
Worth says of himself: " Though born on Quaker hill, I have 
still been in the habit of considering Hudson as my native town, 
for the reason that my earliest recollections date from that place." 
He was fifteen years of age when he removed with his father's 
family to Hudson, and was about twenty when he came to Al- 
bany, soon after which he was appointed teller of the New York 
State Bank, then a new institution. When the Mechanics and 
Farmers' Bank went into operation, in 1811, he was appointed 
its first cashier, and brought with him his kinsman, Mr. Thomas 
W. Olcott, who has continued in the institution ever since, and 

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not only long since attained to its highest otflce, but has made for 
himself a reputation of the highest order as a financier. In 1817 
Mr. Worth went to Cincinnati to take cliarge of a branch of the 
United States Bank. It is supposed that he remained there about 
five years, as in 1851 he published a similar work to this, which 
he entitled Bccollcctions of Cincinnati from a Resicknceof Five Years, 
1817 to 1821. He then removed to New York, where he acquired 
wealth, and maintained a high position in society. In this pre- 
liminary note it is not in point to speak of the work critically. 
An octogenarian of the city, Mr. John Q. "Wilson, animadverted 
upon some portions of it in the newspapers of the day ; his ob- 
servations will be found in notes, with his initials attached. The 
sketch of Matthew Gregory was written b}^ the late Dr. Willard. 
The remaining notes have been prepared by the publisher, with 
a view more particularly to illustrate the personal history of the 
characters mentioned by the author, and to note the time of 
their respective deaths. It is an interesting though melancholy 
fact, that of all the persons mentioned by him, the venerable Dr. 
Nott alone survives at the time of issuing this edition. 


To the ruhhshcr : 

Agreeably to your request, though not without some misgivings, I send you, 
herewith, a few additional pages of Random Secollections. It would be easy 
to fill a volume with such scraps as these; but to do justice to the subject 
M'ould require more time than I can voiv conveniently spare. The ground is 
to be carefully surveyed, prior to any act of occupation. There are many 
choice anecdotes that cannot yet be told ; many amusing scenes that cannot, 
with proprietj^ be described; and a long list of original characters, that it 
would, even at this distant date, be premature to sketch. Still, there are ma- 
terials enough within the rule of right, to satisfy all reasonable curiosity ; some 
little time, however, is indispensable to their collection and judicious arrange- 
ment for exhibition. But the novelty of the thing, I apprehend, has, in 
some measure, worn oS, and unless the future recollections should be of a bet- 
ter quality than those I now send you, it would be as useless to continue the 
work, as it would be to republish the original copy without additions. 

To the handsome style in which the thing was printed ; to the liberality and 
laudatory tone of your city press, and to the good nature of the citizens of 
Albany, I attribute the favorable reception and ready sale of the first edition. 
But, it should be remembered, that nothing is new but once, that liberality 
and good nature may be over-taxed ; and that the recollections, being local in 
their character and limited in their range, can excite little or no interest be- 
yond the confines of your city. But the risk and expense of publication are 
yours, and if you really think it worth while to try the town wi(h another edi- 
tion, the few scraps I send you may, perhaps, authorize the printer's devil to 
insert in the title page, the catching phrase, ivith additions ; and to strengthen 
this important announcement, I place at your disposal an entire new batch 
(written some two years since), entitled Recollections of Hudson. These, you 
may publish separately, or together Mith their Albany relatives (or not at all), 
as you may think best. I have no wish other than that you should not lose 
money by the idle sketchings of my pen. 

Your friend and ob't serv't, 


JoNESBURGH, January, 1850. 




iSravediy HK Hall from dn origm_al Portrait by G-. Stuari 



< * » » > 

The election of Mr. Jefferson to tlie presidency, 
produced a new era in tlie political history of men 
and things throughout the United States. So great 
was the change, and so sudden the turn of the 
executive wheel, that the event was felt through all 
the ramifications of society, and the period became 
as memorable as that of the birth of the nation. 
Many, even at the present day, refer to it in their 
computations of time, as to one of those fixed 
periods, which arc alike familiar to the learned and 
unlearned. It is, indeed, one of those chronological 
meridians, from which we calculate the degrees of 
time, advancing or receding as the case may be. 
Thus, instead of saying, "in the year 1801," or "at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century," we say, 
"at the period of Mr. Jefferson's election. " Either 
phrase sutficiently designates the time referred to : 
the choice is, of course, optional, and the mode of 
expression a mere matter of taste. 


18 Recollections of Albany. 

In commencing these reminiscences, I prefer to 
say that my first visit to Albany was just before the 
election of Mr. JeiFerson, or the Great Ajjostle as he 
is sometimes called. IsTot that the visit had any 
thing to do, either with tlie election of Mr. Jefferson 
or the fortunes of his followers, but because it was 
an epoch in my own personal history, as the elec- 
tion of Mr. Jefferson was, in the history of the 

Iliad then just launched my "light untimbered 
bark*' upon the ocean of life; with no guide but 
providence, and with no hand but my own to direct 
its course. ISTever shall I forget the> deep feeling 
of loneliness that came over me when the recedina; 
headlands of my native bay disappeared in the dis- 
tance, and I found myself, for the first time in my 
life, alone on the waters. 

It was at the age of eighteen, and in the autumn 
of the year eighteen hundred, that I first set my 
foot within the precincts of the ancient and far- 
famed city of Albany. It is true, I had passed 
through the city some ten or twelve years before, 
but 'twas a rainy day, and in a covered wagon ; and 
as the only glimpse I had of the town, was obtained 
through a hole in the canvas I set it down as 
nothing, since, in reality, it amounted to nothing, 
I am, however, well aware that an intelligent, 

Recollections of Albany. VJ 

sharp-sighted English traveler, such for instance, 
as Fearon, Hall, or Marryat, would have seen, even 
through a smaller aperture, and under less favor- 
ahle circumstances, enough to have cnahled him to 
have given you, not only the exact topography of 
the town and its localities, but a full and accurate 
account of its difix3rent religious denominations, 
the state of its society, the number of its slaves, 
and the character of its inns; together with many 
sage reflections upon the demoralizing tendency of 
republican governments ! 

But this faculty of taking in all things at a sin- 
s-le (rlance : this ability to see more than is to be 
seen, is one of the many advantages which the Eng- 
lish traveler possesses over all others, and which 
in fact distino-uishes him from the traveler of every 

O *■' 

other country on the face of the globe — the land of 
31uncliausen^ not excepted! I mention these things 

^HiERONYMUs Karl Frtedrick Von Munchhausen (pio- 
nouuced Minfc-houften, instead of Mun-chatcsen) was a veritaljle 
Crcrman baron, and a cavalry officer in the service of Russia, avIio 
in liis old ag<? deliglitcd in repeating the most wonderful stories 
of his adventures in the campaign against the Turks in 1737-39, 
which grew in absurdity by repetition, till he acquired the reputa- 
tion of the greatest of living liars. A German refugee in England 
first gave them pubUcity in 1785, since which they have appeared 
in different languages, and attained great popularity. The baron 
died at Hanover in 1797, aged 77. It has been said that he was 
in Burgoyne's army, but it is quite a mistake, the chaplain 
MunchhofF in Specht's regiment being probably the person mis- 
taken for him. See MimselVs Historical Series^ yii, 163. 

20 Recollections of Albany. 

merely to satisfy the reader that I might have made 

something out of the aftair of the covered wagon, 

had I been so disposed. But 'tis not my intention, 

nor was it when I commenced these reminiscences^ 

to draw upon my imagination for a single fact. I 

have materials in abundance, and cannot, therefore, 

be tempted to go out of my way to reoUect incidents 

ichich never happened, or to describe things which I 

never saw. 

The city of Albany, in 1800, though the capital 

of the state, and occupying a commanding position, 

was, nevertheless, in point of size, commercial 

importance, and architectural dignity, bnt a third 

or fourth rate town. It was not, in some respects, 

what it might have been ; but it was, in all respects, 

unlike what it now is. Its population could not, I 

think, have exceeded some seven or eight thousand.* 

^In 1688 Albany was supposed by the French to hare had 30O 
inhabitants capable of bearing arms. The population in 1698 
was 379 men, 229 women, and 803 cliildrcn. The tables of popii- 
lation sometimes differ a little, the Colonic being frequently 
counted in as well as the slaves,.who were numerous at the close 
of the last and the early part of the present century. 

1790, 3,498. 1835, 28,109. 

1800, 5,387. 1840, 33,721. 

1810, 9,354. 1845, 42,139. 

1815, .10,023 1850, 50,763. 

1820, 12,630. 1855, 57,333. 

1825, 15,971. 1860, 621,367. 

1830, 24,209. 186.5, 70,000 (estimated). 

There is now a population of 200,000 within the bounds of a 
mile along both marguis of the river from Cohoes to the Nor- 

Eecollections of Albany, 21 

I know not what the statistics may say, nor is it ma- 
terial, for no man of sense puts the least faith in 
documents compiled hy politicians, or published by 
authority. Most of Uncle Sam's figurers, particu- 
larly those that belong to the treasury department, 
figure frequently in the dark, and always at random. 
With them, the addition or omission of a cypher 
or two is, it would seem, of but little consequence. 
Hence their statistics, whether elaborated by the 
imposing genius of a Woodbury or a Walker, go for 
nothingwith me. But to the subject. 

Albany has probably undergone a greater change, 
not only in its physical aspect, but in the habits and 
character of its population, than any other city in 
the United States. It was, even in 1800, an old 
town (with one exception, I believe, the oldest in 
the country^), but the face of nature in and around 
it had been but little disturbed. Old as it was, it 
still retained its primitive aspect, and still stood in 

man's kil, a distance of ten miles, being the largest aggregation 
in the state in the same compass, out of (he cities of New York 
and Brooklyn. 

1 Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the 
United States, was founded in 1607 bj' 105 colonists. It has gone 
to utter decay, containing at present two or three old houses, a 
dilapidated church, and the ruins of a fort. Albany, it has been 
claimed, became a trading post in 1610. Although a rude fort was 
built in 1612, it was nearlj^ twenty years later before any consider- 
able accessions were made towards a settlement by the introduc- 
tion of families and domestic animals. 

ALBANY IN 1696. 
Stirrounded by a wall of wooden posts teu feet high, 

1. The Fort. 

■2. Dutch Calvinistic Church. 

3. German Lutheran Church. 

4. Lutheran burial place. 

B. Dutch Church burial place. 

7. Blockhouses. 

8. Stadt House. 

9. A great gun to clear a guUey. 

10. Stockades. 

11. City gates, six in number. 

Recollections of Albany. 23 

all its original simplicity ; maintaining its quaint 
and quiescent character, imcliangecl, unmodified, 
unimproved : still pertinaciously adhering, in all its 
walks, to the old track, and the old form. The 
rude hand of innovation, however, was then just 
heginning to he felt ; and slight as was the touch, 
it was felt as an injury, or resented as an insult. 

ISTothing could be more unique or picturesque to 
the eye, than Albany in its primitive days. Even 
at the period above mentioned, it struck me as pecu- 
liarly naive and beautiful. All was antique, clean 
and quiet. There was no noise, no hurry, no confu- 
sion. There was no putting up, nor pulling down ; 
no ill-looking excavations, no levelings of hills, no 
filling up of valleys: in short, none of those villain- 
ous improvements, which disfigure the face of na- 
ture, and exhibit the restless spirit of the Anglo- 
Saxon race. The stinted pines still covered the 
hills to the very edge of the city, and the ravines 
and valleys were clothed with evergreens, inter- 
mixed with briars, and spangled with the wild rose. 

The margin of the river,^ with the exception of an 

1 [It is said that tliere were docks at tliis time from Maiden lane 
to the Watering place, as it was called, now the Steamboat land- 
ing. At the latter place was Hodge's dock, and above it the State 
dock, bnilt in the French war.] At the foot of Maiden lane was 
Fish slip, where the sturgeon were sold. On Quay street wei-e 
stores and dwelling houses, and a taA^n-n. If our author, Avhen 
he first set his foot in this "jewel of antiquity," had taken a walk 

24 Eecollections of Albany. 

opening at tlie foot of State street, extending down 
to tlie ferry, was overhung witli willows, and shaded 
by the wide spreading elm. The little islands 
below the town were feathered with foliage down to 
the very water's edge, and bordered with stately 
trees, whose forms were mirrored in the stream be- 
low. As far as the eye could extend, up and down the 
river, all remained comparatively wild and beauti- 
ful while the city itself was a curiosity; nay, a per- 
fect jewel of antiquity, particularly to the eye of 
one who had been accustomed to the "white house, 
green door, and brass knocker," ^ of the towns and 

to this workl-reuowned sturgeon slip, "a little after suu rise," lie 
would have witnessed a scene that would have cast the willows 
and elm trees into the deep shade of a forgotten past. There 
was the quiet ancient burger, elbowed aside by his Old and New 
England, Scotch and Irish brethceii, nwre clamorous and eager 
for Albany beef thanl himself If he had not beforehand entered 
into a confederacy with the Etsbergers and Reckhows, lords of 
the slip, he must infallibly have gone home dinnerless and de- 
sponding. J. Q. w. 

ilf the seer had looked a second time, he would have seen the 
simple side hill street, the grass covering the east half of it. He 
would have seen the quiet citizens returning from their business 
or their morning walk — but lie Avould not have seen a single 
cocked hat, nor red ringed worsted cap, upon the head of one of 
them, except may l)e that of the venerable Dr. Stringer on his 
professional morning tour. He would have seen the upper half 
of each front door open, and here and there a neat and thrifty 
house-wife, l)ending forward over tlie closed lower half, watching 
for her husband or her sons, as they came home to breakfast. He 
might have seen that brass knocker, in the form of a dog, on the 
door of Lafiiyette's liead quarters, unlike any "knocker" on any 
"green door" in New England. j. q. w. 

THE NEW York) 



Erected 1798. 

Recollections of Albany. 


villages of iS'ew England. I^Tothing, indeed, could 
be more i^ictnresque than the view of ISTortli Pearl 
street, from the old elm at Webster's corner, up to 

Webster's Comer and the Old Elm Tree. 

the new Two- steepled Church. Pearl street, it must 
be remembered, was, in those daj-s, the west end 
for the town ; for there the town ended, and there resi- 
ded some of the most aristocratic of the ancient burg- 
ers. There, a little after sunrise, in a mild spring 
morning, might be seen, sitting by the side of their 
doors, the ancient and venerable mynheers with 
their little sharp cocked hats, or red-ringed worsted 
caps (as the case might be), drawn tight over their 


26 Recollections of Albany. 

heads. There they sat, like monuments of a former 

age, still lingering on the verge of time ; or like 

mile-stones upon a turnpike road, solus in solo! or, 

in simple English, 2(/ilike any thing I had ever seen 

before. But there they sat, smoking their pipes in 

that dignified silence, and with that phlegmatic 

gravity, which would have done honor to Sir Wou- 

ter Van Twiller, or even to Pufi'endorf himself. 

The whole line of the street, on either side, was 

dotted by the little clouds of smoke, that, issuing 

from their pipes, and, curling round their noddles, 

rose slowly up the antique gables, and mingled 

with the morning air ; giving beauty to the scene, 

and adding an air of life to the picture, Eut the 

great charm was in the novelty of the thing. I had 

seen a Dutch house before, but never till then had 

I seen a row of Dutchmen smoking in a Dutch city.^ 

^ Shade of tlie immortal Diederick ! and ^liall he rot smoke? 
When one of these " ancient and venerable mynheers," who was 
coeval with those willows and elms, looked back to the many 
times when, in his canoe, he breasted the downward and devious 
current of the Mohawk, with its rifts, falls, and portages, descended 
into Oneida lake and followed its outlet to Oswego ; coursed along 
the winding shores of Ontario and Erie to Detroit, up that river 
to St. Clair, and along the shores of Huron, crossing Saginaw 
bay to Mackinac, where he traded with the Indian for his furs, 
and of his returns thence to his family in Pearl street, laden with 
the riches so hardly earned, the labor of which has reduced him 
to early decrepitude, shall he be jeered at for his apathy ? Shall 
he not smoke, and rejoice to see his quiet and contemplative 
neighbor, who has been in another waj equally prosperous, do so 
likewise — without being ridiculed for his grave dullness ? 

Recollections of Albany. 


Albany was indeed Dutch, in all its moods and 
tenses; thorouglilj and inveteratelj Dntch. The 
buildings were Dutch — Dutch in style, in position, 


Erected liyol, and ouce form/d :i part of Lewis's Tavern, the adjoining; 

hoiii^e, origiually Mad;;m Schuj-ler's citj' residence, was removed 

many years ago, when that part of Pearl street was widened. 

attitude and aspect. The people were Dutch, tke 
horses were Dutch, and even the dogs were Dutc-li. 
If any conlirmation were wanting, as to the origin 

28 Recollections of Albany. 

and cliaracter of the j^lace, it might be found in 

the old Dutch church, which was itself always to 

be found iu the middle of State street, looking as 

if it had been wheeled out of line bj the giants of 

old, and there left; or had dropped down from the 

clouds in a dark night, and had stuck fast where it 


^ There are very few of the present generation left who remem- 
ber the position and appearance of this antique but venerable 
building, and fewer still who can realize the interesting recollec- 
tions which from tradition cluster around it. The first church 
was built at a very early day, and of much smaller dimensions. 
It was placed in the position where it stood, at the intersection of 
what is now State street and Broadway, as a security against Indian 
attacks, commanding Broadway north and south, and State 
street east and west. The windows were high from the ground 
to guard against an escalade, as it was too far north to be protect- 
ed by the guns of Fort Orange. It was a little fortress within 
itself In those days all the men went armed to church. The 
young men were seated in the galleries, that they might be ready 
in case of an attack to sweep the street either way by their fire 
from the windows. The old men were seated on a raised plat- 
form along the walls, and the women were in the slips in the 
centre and out of the way of any danger. 

Those, therefore, who have been unwise enough to ridicule the 
position of the church, have done so in their ignorance of the 
reasons for its location. The condition of these Dutchmen and 
the Pilgrims of New England were alike ; both worshiped their 
Maker with arms in their hands. The tradition goes that when 
this old church was to be replaced by a new one, the same spot 
was selected for it, and the new church was built round the old 
one, and that during the time the new one was building, public 
service was regularly carried on in the old one, which Avas inter- 
rupted but two entire sabl)aths. The new church was like the old 
one, and did not difi'er from it, except in size [and material, being- 
built of stone]. The same high windows, the same arrangement 
of seats, and the same separation of the sexes. There was one 

Eecollections of Albany. 


All the old buildings in the city — and they consti- 
tuted a large majority — were but one story high, 
with sharp peaked roofs, surmounted by a rooster, 


Corner of North Pearl and Columbia streets, erected 1710. 

Striking difference, however. Tlie congregation had become 
more numerous and wealthy, and eacli window bore the escutch- 
eon of the several fjimilies who were disposed to pay for it, in co- 
lored glass. Each window had an outside shutter, which was 
fastened by a latch. The shutters were never opened, except on 
Sunday. Such was this church, with its steep roof, uniting in the 
centre, and surmounted with a belfry and a weathercock. Here 
in this church, and perhaps also in the old one, the dead of distin- 
guished families were buried. Here preached " Our Westerlo, ' 
by which endearing appellation the old members of the flock 
used to designate their minister, which in the Dutch language, 
and from the lips of an aged matron, had an affectionate softness 
about it which the English translation cannot convey. Is it 

30 Recollections op Albany. 

VLilgavly called a weathercock. Every house, hav- 
ing any pretensions to dignity, was placed with its 
gable end to the street, and was ornamented with 
huge iron numericals, announcing the date of its 
erection ; while from its eaves long wooden gutters, 

strauge that a church, from its commencement so ancient, and 
from its position so interesting, should be dear to the liearts of 
those wliose fathers and grandsires had ^Yorslliped and been 
buried there ? 

But this old churcli miglit, to the informed sons of the pilgrims, 
have called up a train of thought in which it "vvould have been 
profitable for them to have indulged. Here, in this church, as 
late as the year 1800, the Dutchmen assembled on the sabbath, 
coming out of the mixed population which even then existed in 
the city. Here were to be found the descendants of the generous 
Hollanders, who in days long passed, had given shelter and pro- 
tection both to the persecuted pilgrim and to the Huguenot — and 
for aught we know, knelt on the shore of Delfthaven, prayed with 
and bade God-speed to the company on the May-flower — or who 
had shielded the Huguenots of Rochelle from the hot pursuit of 
their red assassins. It was on a sabbath in July, of the year 
above mentioned, when the writer, for the flrst time, entered this 
church, fully aware of the kind of people he was to meet there. 
But the narrow aisles and slij^s; the separation of the sexes; the 
raised wall seats tilled with old men, and the members of the 
corporation in their allotted seats; the young men in the gallery; 
the clerk's desk under the pulpit, and the old Holland-made 
pulpit itself, Avith its hour-glass and an iron moveable frame to 
support it ; the high windows with their bright stained glass coats 
of arms ; the stoves standing on platforms raised outside of the gal- 
lery and nearly on a level with its floor ; the figures in large Ger- 
man text hanging on each side wall, denoting the chapter of the 
Bible to be read, and the first psalm to be sung ; the reading of 
that chapter and decalogue by the clerk ; and giving out that 
psalm by the clerk, the singing, the salutation, and the exordium 
remotuin by the minister — all so new and all combined, had less 
effect upon the writer than the people themselves — every drop of 

Recollections of Albany. 31 

or spouts,^ projected in front some six or seven feet, 
so as to discharge the water from the roof, when it 
rained, directly over the centre of the sidewalks. 
This was probably contrived for the benefit of those 
who were compelled to be out in wet weather, as 
it furnished them with an extra shower-bath free 
of expense. 

But the destined hour was drawing near. The 

his pilgrim and Huguenot blood, and it was all he had, warmed 
to those whose forefathers had been kind to his — and he felt the 
full foi'ce of the injunction, 

" Thy father's friends forget thou not." 

He never has, and he never will. 

Nearly all those in that church on that day, of full age, have 
departed from among us. Tlie fires that warmed the ashes of 
some of them are hardly yet extinguished. Let no unhallowed 
heel tread upon them. J. Q. w. 

^These gutters are still common to some cities in Holland, and 
present a singular spectacle to a stranger in a rain storm. The 
law went into effect in May, 1793, that no gutter or spout should 
project into the street, but that the water should be conducted 
down the sides of the houses through pipes within three feet of 
thg ground, under a penalty of forty shillings. These gutters 
were alluded to by Kalm, who visited Albany in 1749. He says : 
" The gutters on the roofs reach almost to the middle of the street 
This preserves th» walls of the houses from being damaged by 
the rain ; but is extremely disagreeable in rainy weather for the 
people in the streets, there being hardlyany means of avoiding the 
water from the gutters." The same thing is alluded to by Morse, 
in 1789, who says : "There is one little appendage to their houses 
which the people, blind to the inconvenience of it, still continue, 
and that is the water gutters or spouts, which project from every 
house, rendering it almost dangerous to walk the streets in a rainy 
day. Their houses are seldom more than one story and a half 
high, and have but little convenience and less elegance." 

32 Recollections of Albany. 

Yankees were creeping in. Every day added to 
tlieir number; and the unhallowed hand of innova- 
tion was seen pointing its impertinent finger at the 
cherished habits and venerated customs of the an- 
cient burgers. ' These meddling eastern Saxons at 
length obtained a majority in the city councils ; 
and then came an order, tdth a handsaw, to "cutoff 
those spouts. " ISTothing coukl exceed the conster- 
nation of the aforesaid burgers, upon the announce- 
ment of this order. Had it been a decree abolish- 
ing their mother tongue, it could hardly have 
excited greater astonishment, or greater indigna- 
tion. "What !" said they, "are our own spouts, 
then, to be measured and graduated by a corpora- 
tion standard ! Are they to be cut off or fore- 
shortened, without our knowledge or consent!" 
But the Dutch still retained the obstinacy, if not 
the valor, of their ancestors. They rallied their for- 
ces and at the next election, the principal author of 
the obnoxious order (my old friend Elkanah Wat- 
son^), was elected a constable of the ward in which he 

iln the year 1789, Mr. Watson removed from Providence to 
Albany. Among tlie curiosities in his common-place book I find 
a singular document which affords evidence that our country at 
that epoch was not wholly enfranchized from the influence of 
European usages, but that many of their restrictions and exactions 
still lingered. I refer to a certificate of the freedom of the city, 
which it seems each immigrant was required to possess, to be 
secured in the enjoyment and protection of his municipal rights. 

Tiintad W "TObon. 

Ee;: bvJ.vr.Pj^i.e 


7'/i/r!V''r .■•/' r//ij\^-!ti }iv^ />///■//< ,//!,/■ J,yr/'-///nir,7/ StV'/f/:- 



Recollections of Albany. 33 

lived! This done, they went to sleep again ; and 
before they awoke, new swarms had arrived, and a 
complete and thorough revolution had taken place. 
The Yankees were in possession of the city! and 
the fate of the Dutch was sealed. 

The following is a copy of the printed document : " Knoio all 
men hy presents l\vAi I, John Lansing Jr., Esquire, Mayor of 
the city of Albany, have admitted and received, and do hereby 
admit and receive, Elkanaii Watson to be a freeman of said city. 
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused 
the seal of the said city to be hereunto annexed, the 28tli day of 
May, 1790, &c." And for this certificate, Mr. W. adds, I was com- 
pelled to pay five pounds. This abuse was early and vigorously 
assailed by him in the press, and was soon after abolished. 

At the time of Mr. Watson's settlement in Albany, not more 
than five New England families were residents of the city. It was 
without any foreign commerce ; the city was unimproved. State 
street, now one of the most spacious and beautiful avenues in 
America, was then not only without pavements and ungraded, 
but even broken and in some parts precipitous. The streets were 
without lamps. A singular deformity and inconvenience prevail- 
ed in some sections of the city. A custom had been introduced, 
which existed in the provincial towns of Holland, of discharging 
the waters from the roofs of smaller buildings by long spouts. 
In Holland the spouts were projected over the canals; but by 
the adoption of this practice in Albany the water was poured 
iipon the head of the unwary passenger. The mind of Mr. Wat- 
son, f imiliar with the elegancies and advancement of European 
cities, at once saw and appreciated the various defective arrange- 
ments in the city of his adoption ; and soon after becoming a resi- 
dent, he engaged earnestly, through the press and by personal 
eff'orts, in suggesting and urging various local improvements 
connected with tliese subjects. 

His exertions, in connection with the labors of others, generally 
secured their adoption ; but as they necessarily entailed inconven- 
ience and expense, the schemes excited strong hostility in the feel- 
ings of those who are opposed to all innovating proj ects. In subse - 


34 Recollections of Albany. 

The old families, however, still claimed the lead 
in all matters relating to good society. The city 
assemblies were still under their control, as well in 
regard to time and place, as in the power of admis- 
sion and exclusion. In the exercise of this prerog- 
ative, a little jealousy of the Yanl^ees was occa- 
sionally manifested. The difficulty was, to know 
who was ivJio : to distinguish between those that 
were entitled to admission, and those that were not. 
Mere respectability w^as not, of itself, sufficient; 
nor was wealth to be considered as a certain passport. 
It was necessary that tliere should be something 

queiit jeixrs lie received many generous tributes of acknowledg- 
ments and thanks from those who, in their jirogress, had opposed 
these efforts. His journal contains a notice of an amusing inci- 
dent, which exhibits the state of feeling he had excited. 

"Just after State street had been paved at a heavy expense, I 
sauntered into it immediately succeeding a heavy thunderstorm, 
and whilst regretting the disturbance in the sidewalk, and to ob- 
serve the cellars filled with water (for in that section, wliich was 
near the present locality of the State Bank, the street in grading 
had been elevated some feet), I heard two women, in the act of 
clearing their invaded premises from the accunndation of mud 
and water, cry out — ' Here comes that infernal paving Yankee ! ' 
they approached me in a menacing attitude — broomsticks erect. 
Prudence dictated a retreat to avoid being broomsticked by tiie 
infuriated Amazons, although I did not run, as some of my friends 
insisted, but walked off at a quick pace." 

Respecting the election of Mr. Watson to the office of constable, 
the joke was turned upon the electors, when the next morning 
the Dutchmen found him driving the hogs, found in the streets, 
to the public pound. The running at large of hogs was one of 
the city's most ancient usages, and the}- at once begged off, and 
made peace. 

Kecollections of Albany. 85 

of rank, of farail}^, or of fashion, to entitle a new 
comer to a seat among tlie notables. These matters, 
however, were, as a matter of course, left to the 
younger branches of the ancient aristocracy, to 
regulate as they saw fit. 

Now it happened, that into this ancient and some- 
what exclusive circle of good society, had slid many 
families, with their twigs and branches, who had in 
reality none of the rights and claims of the genuine 
Knickerbockers ;^ and who were, as far as antiquity 
Avas concerned, mere squatters ; yet they were 
found to be greater sticklers for exclusion and pro- 
bation, than the veritable mynheers themselves. 
Still, up to 1803 or 1804, tilings went on tolerably 
well: at all events, there was no complaint. The 
assemblies were sutSciently select as to cpiality, and 
perhaps sufficiently liberal in their range as to 
number. But, somewhere about the period referred 

^It has become common to speak of the eliie of the Dutch as the 
Knickerbockers. The name is derived from K-nik-ker-bak-ker (pro- 
nounced conniclherbawker) a baker of knickers or playing marbles. 
The Knickerbackers were among the early citizens of Albany, 
and the progenitor of the race still bearing the name here, it is 
reasonable to suppose, like many others, took his patronymic 
from his profession ; for there is a tradition that it was not the 
original family name. Washington Irving fancied it, however, 
and has immortalized it, but corrupted its orthography ; so that 
we daily see many objects, magnificent or diminutive, from a steam 
boat to an urchins' hand-sleigh, bearing tlie title of Knickerbocker. 
Members of the family even, have descended to burlesque theii- 
names by substituting o for the vernacular a. 

36 Recollections oe Albany. 

to, tlie self-constituted managers lield a meeting, 
at which it was determined that the eitj assemblies 
should in future he '■'■more select;" and that "a line 
of distinction,'" as they termed it, should he drawn. 
Accordingly a new list was made out, by which it 
was soon ascertained that several, heretofore admit- 
ted, had been left off, and many others excluded, 
that were thought to be better entitled to admission 
than many that were retained. The measure, there- 
fore, was taken in high dudgeon by the friends of 
the excluded parties, and was considered as a piece 
of arrogance, even by those who had no personal 
cause of complaint. 

A paper war was immediately commenced, and 
the character and pretension of the managers were 
ridiculed and satirized in a style as new as it was 
amusing. A series of poetical epistles, odes, satires, 
&c., &c., appeared in rapid succession ; some of them 
displaying a good deal of taste and cleverness. One 
piece in particular, entitled The Conspiracy of the 
Nobles, written in mock heroic verse, contained some 
capital hits. It gave a highly poetic description 
of the first meeting of the managers, and an amus- 
ing sketch of their persons, pretensions, characters 
and debates. The most ridiculous speeches were 
of course put into their mouths, and they were 
thus made to exhibit themselves in a light that was 

Recollections of Albany. 37 

as laugliable as it was absurd.^ Those squibs were 
answered by the couspirators, but without the wit 
or the humor that characterized the pieces of their 
opponents. The fire, however, was kept up on 
both sides for several weeks, to the great amuse- 
ment of the town. The result was a mortifying 
defeat on the part of the exclusiouists. The as- 

1 1 quote from memory the following as a sample. 

Next, up rose Milo, with a graceful mein, 
No comelier noble on the floor was seen, 
And all undaunted stood, with phiz serene. 
Thrice e'er he spoke, with easy grace he bow'd, 
Twice to the king, once only to the crowd; 
His hand sincere, he placed upon his breast. 
And thus his majesty and peers address'd: 

"I wage no war, with either great or small ; 

A neutral post I hold, or none at all; 

Of squibs, of jarring factions, plebeian bands 

And proud nobility, I wash my hands. 

My interests only, henceforth I'll pursue, 

To please all men, henceforth shall be my cue." 

He ceased and sat, when with terrific frown, 
That darkened all the hall and half the town. 
Lord Roderick rose, and 'neath the awful shade, 
His proud imaginations thus display'd: 

"Ye gods 1 and is it come to this, that we! 

The city's proud and prime nobility. 

Should waive our right of birth, our rank and place 

To gratify this new and upstart race ! 

Let those who will, to base-born interests bend, 

I scorn the trading tribe, the truckling friend. 

Though round my head plebeian placards flit, 

With saucy satire fill'd, and damning wit ; 

Though the whole town should join the vulgar throng. 

38 Recollections of Albany. 

semblies, as a matter of course, fell into tlie hands 
of the victorious party, and, to their credit be it 
said, were conducted with more taste and propriety, 
and were indeed more brilliantly attended than they 
had ever been before. 

This was considered as a victory of wit over im- 
pudence, or rather of sense over nonsense. It is 

And point the fingei' as I pass along. 
Still would I wear my wonted lordly face, 
And vindicate the honors of my race. 
Sooner than yield to tlieir insurgent claims, 
I'd see the hills o'erthrown, the town in iiames. 
Sooner than mingle in their turbid flood, 
And dance with doxies of plebeian blood, 
I'd see the assemblies to perdition hurl'd, 
And round them piled the fiddlers of the world! 
I'd see old Jove, on his imperial height. 
Blot out the stars and cj^uench the solar light. 
I'd see the angry gods their vengeance pour, 
And hear, unmoved, eternal chaos roar !'! 

He ended — and applauding murmurs ran 
In echoing circles round the sage divan. 
When, rising from his seat with scornful look, 
Thus spoke Van Trump, — and spoke it like a book. 

"I view, my Lords, with deep disgust these jars. 

These petty jealousies and paper wars. 

And above all, this 'blotting out the stars!' 

This mighty nonsense ! this uproar about 

The right of entrance at a dancing rout. 

For shame, my Lords ! for once, be wise — be civil, 

And send your starch'd exclusives to the devil! 

Take my advice — throw wide your ball-room door. 

Add to your music six, and sand the floor ! 

Take, take the Yankees in, and end this fuss, 

Or, be assured, my Lords, they' lliake inus !" -Autbovl' s i!i07^. 

Recollections of Albany. 39 

but just, however, to add, that the real old Knick- 
erbacker families took but very little interest in the 
contest, and were probably not much displeased at 
the discomfiture of their quondam allies. Let us 
now turn to revolutions of a graver import. - 

A restless, leveling, innovating spirit, now pre- 
vailed throughout the city. The detested word im- 
2:)rovement was in every mouth, and resistance was 
unavailing. The stinted pines became alarmed, 
and gradually receded. The hills themselves gave 
way. ISTew streets opened their extended lines, 
and the old ones screw wider. The roosters on the 
gable heads, that for more than a century had braved 
the Indians and the breeze; that had even flapped 
their wings and crowed in the face of Burgoyne 
himself, now gave it up, and came quietlj^ down. 
The gables in despair soon followed, and more 
imposing fronts soon reared their corniced heads. 
The old Dutch Church^ itself, though thought to 

1 This cliurch was demolisliod in 1806, and tlie materials used in 
the construction of tlie Middle Dutcli Chureli on Beaver and Hud- 
son streets. It was erected in 1715. The Episcopalians began the 
erection of tlieir church in State street 1714, Avhich stimulated the 
Dutch to the vigorous prosecution of a similar enterprise. The 
walls were laid around the old church, and in September of that 
year the services in the old church were omitted in the afternoon 
of one Sunday on account of the obstructions to the entrance. In 
Octobei- the services were again interrupted two Sundays, while 
the old church was being demolished. On the third Sunday child- 
ren were baptized in the new church in the afternoon. This was 


Recollections of Albany, 

be immortal, submitted to its fate, and fell ! not at 
the foot of Pompey's statue, exactly, but at the foot 
of kState street, wliicli freed from that obstruction, 
thenceforward became the Rialto of the city, where 
pedlers of stale sea-cod, and country hucksters, now 
do congi'egate. 


Erected 1715, demolished 1806. 

thought to be so notable a feat that it is still an oft> repeated Iradi- 
tion. Equally note-worthy is the fact that the tirst person bap- 
tized in the new church in 1715, was the last one for whom the bell 
tolled at her funeral in 180G, her age being 92. 

Recollections of Albany. 


Even the clogs now began to bark in broken Eng- 
lish: many of them, indeed, had already caught 
the Yankee twang, so rapid was the progress of 
refinement. In the process of a few brief years, 
all that was venerable in the eyes of the ancient 
burgers disappeared. Then came the great eclipse 
of 1806,^ which clearly announced the fall and final 
end of the Dutch dynasty. It is liardly necessary 

1 This eclipse forms an epoch in onr history. It was captured 
by Ezra Ames and Simeon De Witt. The former made a painting 
of it, and the latter described it. The accompanying engrav- 
ing is but a very poor counterpart of Mr. Ames's painting. It was 
a total eclipse, and Mr. De Witt in describing the painting says : 

"The edge of the Moon was 
.strongly illuminated, and had 
the brilliancy of polished 
silver. No common co- 
lors could express this ; 
I therefore directed it to 
be attempted by a raised 
silver rim. No verbal 
description can give any- 
thing like a true idea of 
this sublime spectacle, 
with which man is so 
rarely gratified. In order 
to have a proper conception 
of what IS intended to be re- 
presented, you must transfer 
your ideas to the heavens and imagine, at the departure of the 
last ray of the Sun, in his retreat behind the Moon, an awful 
gloom in an instant diffused over the face of nature, and around 
a dark circle near the south, an immense radiated glory, like a 
new creation, bursting on the sight and for some minutes fixing 
the gaze of man in silent amazenient. " 


42 Recollections of Albany. 

to say, that not an iron rooster has crowed upon 
the gable heads, nor a civil cocked hat been seen 
in the ancient city of Albany, from that day to 

But let it be remembered, that if the growth of 
Albany was slow, its position rendered it sure. 
The great west, in 1800, was comparatively a wil- 
derness. With the growth of this vast interior, 
Albany has grown ; itlias increased with its increase, 
and strengthened with its strength. ISTo hand, how- 
ever strong, no enterprise, however active, could 
have carried it forward one hour faster than it went. 
Its trade was necessarily dependent upon the popu- 
lation and products of the west, and with these it 
has fairly kept pace. 

It is, however, true that the ancient Dutch fami- 

' The last of those who adhered to the burger costume was Gen. 
John H. Wendell, who lived in a small Dutch built house in North 
Market street, the sixth door above Maiden lane, on the west side. 
He died 10th July, 1833, aged 80, and lies buried in the Dutch Ee- 
forined church yard, on State street. He died of an apoplectic 
attack which occurred at church on the previous Sunday. In 
1776, at 24 years of age, he abandoned the profession of the law, 
and became an ensign in the first New York regiment, but soon 
entitled himself to promotion, and. was made captain under Col. 
Van Schaick, and commanded a company at the battle of Mon- 
mouth. He was with the army during the whole period of the 
war, and Avas subsequently raised to the rank of major-general 
of the militia, and also filled various civil offices with talent and 
aliility. He continued to wear the costume of the era of the revo- 
lution to the time of his death. 

Becollections of Alban"s. 43 

lies, tlioiigh among the most wealthy and respect- 
able, were not the most enterprising, nor the most 
active. Many of them possessed large landed es- 
tates, lived upon their incomes, and left to others 
the toils and profits of trade. At the head of this 
class, and distinguished for his many excellent and 
amiable qualities, stood the late patroon, Stephen 
Van Rensselaer;^ a man widely and honorably 
known ; rich without pride, and liberal without os- 
tentation. I may also mention the name of Jere- 
miah Van Rensselaer,^ a whig of the revolution, 
and for several years lieute:. ant-governor of the 
state: a frank, stout-hearted old gentleman, univers- 
ally respected. 

General Ten Bix)eck,^ also of the revolutionarv 

1 Born 1764, died 1837; a memoir of him, written by Daniel D. 
Barnard, may be found in Annals of Albany, iii, 281. 

2 Jeremiah Vajvt Eensselajer died 19tli Feb. , 181 0, aged 70. He 
took a conspicuous part in the Revolution ; was chairman of the 
comnlittee which drew up the famous objections to the adoption 
of the constitution in 1787 (see Annals Albany, iv, 336) ; was elect- 
ed president of the Bank of Albany 1799 ; declined reelection in 
1806. The house in which he lived was in North Pearl street, 
the third below Steuben, on the east side, and was taken down in 
1837 for tlie erection of a splendid dwelling by Mr. Thomas W. 
Olcott which was described by the English traveler, Buckingham, 
■who visited the city at the ^me.— Annals of Albany, ix, 291-2. 

3 Abraham Ten Broeck died January 19, 1810, and his funeral 
was attended with military honors and a very large concourse of 
citizens. The Ten Broecks do not appear to have come early 
into the country (unless they went originally under the name of 
Wessels), although the name is mentioned in the Eniclcerbocker his- 

44 Recollections of Albany. 

school, clistinguislied for liis activity, iutelligence 
and public spirit. 

Cornelius Yan Schelluj^ne,^ the then best living 
type of the ancient race ; rich, honest, independent, 
unlettered and unpretending. 

In alluding to these ancientand wealthy families, 
that of the Gansevoorts should not be omitted; for 
it is connected with the patriotism and the triumphs 

tory. Dirk Ten Broeck is the first mentioned in tlie city records, 
who was mayor of Albany in 1747, and died before 1751. His 
son Abraham, who is the person here alluded to, engaged in mer- 
chandize, and in 1753 married Elizabeth, sister of Stephen Van 
Rensselaer. From 1760 to 1765, he represented the manor in the 
general assembly, and took an active interest in the revolution. 
He was a delegate in the provincial congress, and as brigadier 
general of the militia, rendered efficient service, especially in 1777. 
In 1779 and 1796 he was mayor of the city, and from 1780 to 1783 
was in the state senate; and in 1781 was appointed first judge of 
Albany county, an office which he held thirteen years. He was 
also president of the Bank of Albany, and enjoyed in a large degree 
the confidence and esteem of the public. His house stood on the 
north line of Columbia street, facing North-market street. The 
house, when it was built, stood outside of the city stockadoe» ; 
it was burnt in the great conflagration of 1798 (Aug. 4), which 
overran several streets, rendering houseless one hundred and fifty 
families — the greatest calamity that had ever befallen the city. 
He then built the house on Arbor hill, upon a plat 292- by 759 
feet, the house 44 by 52 feet, now the residence of Mr. Thomas W. 
Olcott, corner of Ten Broeck and Third streets. It is believed 
that Gen. Ten Broeck has no posterity residing in Albany. 

1 CoRJSTELius Van Schelldyne died 16th April, 1813, aged 76. 
There is now no representative of this once wealthy and in- 
fluential fiimily remaining in the city ; he was therefore the last of 
his race, so to speak. The progenitor of the family in this coun- 
try was Dirk Van Schelluyne, who arrived in New Netherland 
in 1652. 

I. ]\E,Prud7L0Tniiie. 


Recollections op Albany. 45 

of the revolution, "The hero of Fort Stanwix"^ 
has left to his descendants a time-houored name- — a 
name that belongs to the histoiy of the country, 
and to one of its most interesting and important 

But those of a more active and business-like 
character among the Dutch, were the Bleeckers, the 
Lansings, the Douws, the Van Schaicks, the Ten 
Eycks, the TenBroecks, thePruyns, the Hochstras- 
sers,^ the Van Loons, and the Staatses. The princi- 
pal merchants of the city, however — those whogave 
life and character to its business interests — were 
citizens of a more recent date, coming from dift'er- 

iPETEK CtAnsevoort, Jun., boni 17th July, 1749, died 3d July, 
1812, aged G2. With the rank of major he accomi^anied Mont- 
gomery to Canada in 1775. He commanded at Fort Stanwix as 
colonel when it was besieged by St. Leger, in 1777, and resolutely 
defended the post from the 3d to the 33d August, when the ad- 
vance of Arnold dispersed the besieging army, and relieved the 
fort. For this gallant conduct he received the thanks of congress, 
and in 1781 was appointed brigadier-general by the state. After 
the war he acted as military agent, and was entrusted with other 
offices, in all which he maintained a high character for honesty of 
purpose and efficiency. For an extended biography of General 
Gansevoort, prepared by his son, the Hon. Peter Gansevoort, see 
Rogers's Biograplikal Dictionary ; also," Appleton's New American 
Cyclopedia. General Gansevoort was born in the house which 
formerly stood on the site of Stanwix Hall, corner of Bi'oadway 
and Maiden lane, the property having been long in the family. 
He died in the house which he built about 1801, on a part of what 
now constitutes the plat occupied by the Delavan House. 

2 The Hochstrassers disappeared some years ago, the last beino- 
Jacob, the son of Paul, who died 16th April, 1845. 

46 Recollections of Albany. 

eiit parts of the Union, but mostly from 'New Eng- 
land. Among these, were James Kane, Dudley 
Walsh,^ William Janies,^ Isaiah Townsend,^ Gilbert 

^Dudley Walsh, some time president of the Bank of Albany, 
died 24th May, 1816, aged 55. He was distinguished, says his 
obituary notice in tlie Albany Daily Advertiser, for tlie temperance 
and regularity of his life. He was the builder of his own fortune 
and character ; having come to this country from Ireland, and 
begun his career unaided and alone; and his industry, intelli- 
gence and integrity placed him at the head of the commercial 
interest. "As a Christian, a citizen, and a merchant, he had no 
sup&rior here," His residence Avas on the south-east corner of 
North-market and Steuben streets, and his place of business was 
nearly opposite. The dwelling, although some years ago convert- 
ed into stores, was standing until the present year, Avhen it was 
so much altered and greatly enlarged for the use of the American 
express company, as to destroy its identity. 

2 William James, a native of Ireland, as we learn firom his tomb 
stone, died 19th Dec, 1833, aged 63. From a humble beginning 
he became an eminent and opulent merchant, and long occupied 
the position of a liberal and enlightened citizen. Prosperous 
almost bej^ond parallel, his career exemplified how surely strong 
and practical intellect, with unremitted perseverance, will be ac- 
companied by success. Of unaffected manners, generous, hospi- 
table, public spirited, open ever to the claims of charity, prompt 
to participate in any enterprise of general utility or b'enevolence, 
Mr. James enjoyed, as he deserved, the sincere respect and esteem 
of liis fellow-citizens, and his loss was rightly considered as a 
public calamity. His residence was on the east side of JSTorth- 
pearl street, below Steuben street, built by Daniel Hale ; his place 
of business the building still occupying the west corner of State 
and Green streets. 

3 Isaiah Townsend died 17th Feb., 1838, aged 61. He was a na- 
tive of Orange county, the eldest of nine children, and came to the 
city in 1799. As the senior partner of the house of I. & J. Town- 
send he had been engaged in active and extensive mercantile 
and manufacturing business for the last thirty-six years of his life. 

Recollections of Albany. 47 

Stewart/ Thomas GoulcF, William,^ John, and Alex- 

Tlie liouse, by its enterprise and liberality, had done much to 
promote the manufacturing interests of the country, and still more 
to advance the prosperity of the city. He is characterized as in all 
things an upright, just, and generous man, who lived a life of 
honor and usefulness. His residence was the house on the south- 
east corner of State and Eagle streets, now the executive mansion ; 
his place of business the store No. 62 State street. 

1 Gilbert Stewart came from Orange county, and returned 
thither at the close of an unsuccessful business career. He car- 
ried on a general flour and grain business on the dock, and was 
also engaged in milling. He built the house No. 132 State street, 
at present owned and occupied by Dr. Peter McNaughton, but 
did not long enjoy it. It was some time the residence of William 
L. Marcy. 

2 Thomas Gould died 22d April, 1820, and was buried from 
his dwelling house No. 18 Montgomery street. In 1798 his busi- 
ness relations with Benjamin Dickinson and Job Gould, under the 
firm name of Gould, Dickinson & Co., were dissolved, his 
brother Job continuing the business at 13 Court street. He then 
carried on business on the opposite side of the street, between 
Beaver and State, and had for a time Henry W. and Edward C. 
Delavan as partners in the hardware business: and subsequently 
until his death his store was the one still occupied for the same 
business on the corner of State street and JVliddle lane now James 
street. He acquired a fortune. In 1832 his estate was appor- 
tioned $10,000 damages for pro^^erty required for the opening 
of Little-state street. 

3 Uriah Marvin, John Marvin, William Marvin, Alexander 
Marvin and Richard Marvin were brothers, born in Lyme, Con- 
necticut. About 179G John Marvin removed to Ballston, and 
kept a store on Court-house hill. Some four years afterwards he 
removed to Albany and formed a partnership with his brother, 
William, under the name of Wm. & John Marvin. They car- 
ried on business as grocers in the store on the south-west corner 
of State and Quaj^ streets, the stand afterwards occupied by Geo. 
W. Stanton. Alexander Marvin commenced business in Ballston 
about 1804, and came to Albany about two years afterwards and 
here went into the store of his brothers. Not far from 1810, they 

48 Recollections of Albany. 

ander Marvin, Thomas Mather,^ Peter and John I, 
Boyd,^ John Spencer & Co. ,^ John and Spencer Staf- 

purchased a lot on the east side of Court street, since South-mar- 
ket, now South Broadway, at the south corner of Trotter's alley, 
and there carried on business under the name of W., J. & A. Mar- 
vin. John retired from the business in 1822 and it was then con- 
tinued under the name of W. & A. Marvin until 1828 when 
William retired, and B. C. Raymond became a partner under the 
name of A. Marvin & Co. Mr. Alexander Marvin retired from 
business in 1842. William Marvin died at New London, Conn., 
19th May, 1849, aged 74 ; John died at Albany, 8th May, 1853, 
and Alexander died at Albany, 1st Sept., 1864, in his 80th year. 
Uriah and Richard Avere in other business in Albany. 

1 Thomas Mather came from Lyme, Conn., and did a general 
store business in State street below James, early in the present 
century, and afterwards became interested in mills on the Wynants 
kil, and dealt in flour and grain on the dock, corner of Trotter's 
alley. He was one of the first directors of the New York State 
Bank, and seems to have left Albanj^ before the war of 1812. He 
went to Middletown, Conn., where he carried on a business with 
the West Indies, shipping horses principally, and bringing back 
the products of that country. He died about 1850 at an advanced 

2 The father of Peter and John I. Boyd arrived in Albany from 
Scotland in 1774, and his ten sons were born and reared in this 
city. The firm commenced business in 1803, and became exten- 
sively known for its probity and honorable dealings. They 
did business in South-market street, and retired in 1830 with a 
competency. Peter was an active member of the First-presbyte- 
rian church, and diligently occupied in doing good. He reared a 
numerous family and died 3d July, 1846, aged 71. John I. died 
unmarried, 12th July, 1856, aged 76. 

3 John Spencer died 13th Aug., 1824, aged 44. The firm of 
John Spencer & Co. consisted of himself and Thomas Gould 
about 1808. The latter built for the use of the firm the store 
now occupied by Messrs. Tucker & Crawford, on what was then 
Court street, between State and Beaver, which was for many 
years the hardware row. Mr. Spencer subsequently associated 
Mr. Erastus Corning with him in the business, under the same 
firm name. In 1819, an association styled the Albany Chamber 

Recollections of Albany. 49 

ford/ Isaac and George Huttoii,- the Messrs. Webb,^ 
and many others. 

Chamber of Commerce and Public Improvements was formed, 
the objects of which were not made public, but a committee of five 
was appointed for the month of April, to settle any disputes that 
might arise between merchants of the city, who might choose to 
submit them for settlement, which consisted of Isaiah Townsend, 
Joseph Alexander, Peter Van Loon, Walter Clarke and John 
Spencer. On the death of 3Ir. Spencer, his surviving partner, 
Mr. Erastus Corning, carried on the business alone for some 
years, and then associated himself with John T. Norton, under 
the firm name of Corning tfc Norton ; and this house became the 
most extensive hardware establishment in the state out of the city 
of New York — Mr. Corning having retired only within the 
last two years. 

1 John Stafford died 12th Oct., 1819, aged 57, and Spencer died 
10th Feb., 1844, aged 72. The latter lived at No. 100 Lydius street, 
in the house now owned and occupied by the Rev. I. N. Wyckoff ; 
his place of business was in the row on Court street, between 
State and Beaver. Mr. Lewis Benedict was one of the firm when 
it was dissolved, 5th March, 1817. 

2 Isaac Hutton died at Stuyvesant Landing, 8th Sept, 1855, 
aged 68, and George died at Rhinebeck. They were engaged in 
the manuflicture and sale of silver ware and jewelry, in North- 
market street, where Henry Newman's store now is. Having 
acquired money they embarked in the manufacture of cotton 
goods and bec.ime bankrupt. 

^Tlie house of Webb k, Dummcr was established in the fall of 
1807. They advartissd a new wholesale store. No. 17 State street, 
opposite the post olfice, in the store formerly occupied by San- 
ders & Odgen. This was on the site of the Exchange building. 
In 1815 they were doing business where 51 State street now is, 
and in Julj' of that year purchased the east half of the Tontine 
building, which was occupied by themselves and their successors 
till quite recently. George Dummer retired and the firm name 
was afterwards J. H. & H. L. Webb, which was dissolved 
in March, 1829. John H., the partner of Dummer, died at Hart- 
ford, Conn., 14th Sept., 1847. The firm afterwards consisted of 


50 Recollections of Albany. 

There was still another class, not less active, nor 
loss important, in a business point of view. I al- 
lude to a then oomparativel}^ new, or recently es- 

H. L. & C. B. Webb and Alfred Douglass. The Webbs sold out to 
Gregory & Co., in 1844. It was the first house in this branch of 
business that extended a credit to the merchants of the North- 
west territory, then almost a wilderness, often astonishing the 
burgers of Albany by a display of packages marked Fort Winne- 
bago, Green Bay, Chicago, Sault Ste. Marie, Pontiac, »&c., places 
having a very uncertain whereabouts in the far west, absolutely 
beyond the reach of civilization. Michigan, until the establish- 
ment of their branch in Detroit, in 1834, drew her supplies al- 
most exclusively from them. Heniy L. died at Hartford, Conn., 
in Oct., 184G. He was one of the founders of the Canal bank, and 
at the time of his death was president of the Gas Light company. 
George Dummer was born in ISTew Haven, Ct., 8th February, 
1782, and died in .Jersey City, 21st Februarj% 1853. After he re- 
tired from the firm, he resided in the city of New York until 
1825, when he removed to Jersey City, where he had already in 
that year built two extensive factories ; one for the manufacturing 
of flint glass and the other for making china ware. These were 
the first factories erected in Jersey City, and they have contributed 
much to its present prosperity. In the china factory an excellent 
article of porcelain was produced ; but the cost of manufacturing 
this ware was too great to bring it in successful competition with 
the imported article sold in the American market. The establish- 
ment soon passed into other hands and is now known as the Jer- 
sey City Pottery. The glass house is one of the largest in the 
United States, and was carried on by Mr. Dummer from the be- 
ginning, with great energy, honesty and steadiness of purpose, 
through all the vicissitudes of mercantile revolutions and com- 
mercial difiiculties, and under every change of the tariff. By his 
ability the works were kept in full operation, while other glass 
makers were at times obliged to curtail their operations or dis- 
continue business entirely. A few years before his death he was 
attacked by paralysis, and having lost his activity, and being then 
•an invalid, he retired from business in 1852. The Jersey City 
Glass Works are now leased to Read & Moulds, able practical 

Recollections of Albany. 51 

tablished body of mechanics, of wliicli Benjamin 

Knower^ was confessedly at the head. Air. Knoweu 

glass makers, and formerly operatives in the establishment. Like 
the vestal lamps the tire in the Jersey City Glass Works burned 
.night and day and never was allowed to go out from the time it 
was first lighted under the pots in 1825, until in March, 18G5, 
when the absolute scarcity of coal in the. New York market, the 
consequently high prices, and the constant demand of the work- 
men for higher wages, which were already exorbitant, all caused 
by the distm-bed state of the country, reluctantly compelled the 
present tirm to suspend operations for a time. This cessation of 
glass making lasted four weeks, when to the joy of many a wife 
and mother the fires were again lighted A period of forty years 
of uninterrupted operations is remarkable in the history of glass 
making in the United States. 

Mr. Dumnier was a man of great liberality. He was gifted 
witli a high degree of practical common sense, and possessed an 
ardent love for the beautiful and the useful. To him the public 
of Jersey City are principally indebted for their park trees, and his 
example in setting out trees about all the property under his con- 
trol induced others to follow the example. The amelioration of 
the condition of the laboring classes constantly occupied his mind 
even to the last days of his life, and he constantly introduced 
various sanitary and labor saving improvements in their abodes 
belonging to him, which materially added to their health, ease 
and comfort — a Ijenefaction not veiy fi-equently imitated, and sel- 
dom duly appreciated. In 1826 he was chosen president of the 
board of selectmen of Jersey City, and held that ofiice until 1830. 
A street was named after him, and although the present genera- 
tion, ignorant of the days of old, have changed its name, his kind- 
ness of heart and the zeal with which he labored in the days of 
his strong health for the improvements and prosperity of Jersey 
City are still gratefully remembered by many. 

^Benjamin Knower died 23d Aug., 1839, aged 64. He was from 
Massachusetts, and resided in Albany nearly forty years. He was 
a hatter, but also entered upon extensive commercial transactions. 
His place of business was in South-market street, a few doors 
below Hudson, on the west side. His career was distinguished 

52 ' Recollections of Albany. 

was indeed a man of strong mind and persevering 
energy of character. Through Ids inHnence, the 
charter of the Mechanics and Farmers' Bank was 
obtained; and the mechanics of the city of Albany 
rose in consideration and respect, personal and po- 
litical, to a height which they liad never before 
reached. » 

Among the merchants (I speak of the period 
from 1800 to 1808), Mr. Kane^ was perhaps the most 
prominent. He was, indeed, in many respects, the 
most prominent man in the city : prominent from 
his extensive operations and business connections ; 
prominent from his wealth, his liberality, his 
marked attention to strangers, his gentlemanly style 
of dress, and bachelor mode of living. He was dis- 
tinguised, too, by an address and manner so singu- 

for enterprise and public spirit, and lie passed through it with a 
reputation for integrity unsullied, and for business capacity unsur- 
passed. He was for a long time connected Avith, and took an 
active part in the management of tlie Mechanics and Farmers' 
bank, of which he was president. In 1821 he was solicited to 
take the office of state treasurer, which he held until the fall of 
1824, w'hen he resigned. In his occupation as a hatter he had 
manjr apprentices, most of whom, as a matter of course, were 
without precuniary means, or friends able to assist them. He 
seemed to regard it not only as a duty, but a source of personal 
gratitication, to extend a helping hand at this critical moment in 
their lives. 

1 James Kake died 2d April, 1851, aged 80, the last survivor of his 
family. He retired to rest at night as usual, and w^as found dead 
in his bed the next morning. The small room which he occupied 
n the fourth story of the American Hotel, in the south east cor- 
ner, overlooked the beautiful grounds which he ornamented in his 

[the new YomFl 


Recollections of Albany. 53 

larlj polite and courteous as seemingly to border 
upon excess. But let it be remembered, to bis 
bonor, tbat as no man in tbe city was more gene- 
rally known, so tbere was no one more generally or 
more higbly respected. The courtesy or politeness 
of Air. Kane did not, bowever, consist in mere 

prosperous days, and lie used to say jocosely, that his window 
gavc him a view of Jimmy Kana's irulk. It may have atibrded 
him a melancholy satisfaction to contemplate the scene; but every 
year saw portions of it built upon. The grounds were first quar- 
tered by running Westerlo and Broad streets through them, upon 
which dwellings and churches were erected, but there still re- 
mained the old mansion, and many of the tine old trees which he 
had planted with his own hand. 

The following tribute to his memory was paidby Bishop Alonzo 
Potter : " He had been for years the merchant prince of the 
city in which he lived. His ventures all seemed successful ; his 
mansion was the home of a delightful hospitality ; his grounds 
the delighted resort of all ages and ranks. There Avas no pub- 
lic charity, no plan of local or general improvement, Avhich he did 
not gladly help forward. All at once he was arrested by one of 
those sudden and wide-spread revulsions that sweep like a tornado 
across our commercial world. The storm left him a complete 
wreck ; everything he had on earth was surrendered to his cre- 
ditors, and he stood forth rich in character and self-approbation, 
but penniless in purse. It was too late in life, as he thought, to 
retrieve his fellen fortunes. He loved books : he had neither Avife 
nor child. He was surrounded by the friends of his j'outh, at 
whose houses he was always a welcome guest. A few creditors 
remitted their claims, and insisted upon his applying the proceeds 
to his ijersoual Avants. He reluctantly consented. For more than 
twenty years he lived amidst the scenes of his former prosperity 
a poor but contented and happy man. Books were friends that 
rarely parted company Avith him. They turned on him no cold 
looks ; they gave him no half welcome ; and I verily believe that 
never, even in the most brilliant days of a career that made him 
the observed of all observers, did he enjoy himself so Avell as 

,54 Eecollections of Albany. 

words or modes of expression. It bad its foiuida- 
tioii in good feeling — I may say in humanity, which 
vspeaks to the heart, and is understood where words 
are not; which, rising superior to forms and fash- 
ions, borrows nothing from art, nothing from elo- 

I shall venture, by way of illustration, to give an 
instance of this sort of politeness.- There appeared 
at the dinner table of the Tontine Coifee House, 
where Mr. Kane then boarded, and at a time when 
the house was crowded to excess, an old gentleman 
and his wife. They were very plainly dressed, but 
still respectable in their appearance. They were, 
evidently, country people, "from down east;" and 
were probably bound on a visit to their relations in 
the west. The servants, always too few in number, 
were now altogether insulSicient to attend to the 
wants of the company at table. The old people, 
therefore, being strangers, and unknown to any 
one, were totally neglected. It was shameful ! I 
made one or two efibrts to get a servant to attend 
to them, but all in vain : there were too many louder 

-vvliile his whole stipend was two hundred dollars a year." 

It may be added that it was thought that the wealth of the 
Kaues was greatly overrated. They had branches at New York, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and in the Mohawk Valley, and are said 
to have obtained no small amount of capital by drawing on one 
another. They came from Orange county. 

Recollections of Albany. 55 

and more authoritative calls. At length, however, 
they were noticed hy Mr. Kane, who looked round 
for his own servant, hut finding him engaged, im- 
mediately left his seat and walked down to the lower 
end of the tahle where the old couple sat, and po- 
litely asked them what they would he helped to; 
took their plates to a side-tahle, carved for them 
himself, helped them to vegetables, bread, &c., and 
then returned quietly to his seat. He was doubt- 
less taken by the old people, and perhaps by oilier 
strangers, for the master of the house, or the head 
waiter! There was certainly no gentleman present 
who dared to run the risk of being so mistaken. 
But Mr. Kane could afford it. The politeness, or, 
more properly speaking, the humanity of the act, 
did him honor, and far outAveighed the momentary, 
or rather the imagmary loss of dignity. 

As a people, we cannot be sufficiently grateful to 
Providence for the character of our ancestors. From 
the Puritans of England, the Hugueuots of France, 
and the Protestants of the JSTetherlands, did this 
country derive the seeds and elements of its great- 
ness: its purity of faith, its principles, and its power. 
To them, under Providence, are we indebted for 
our civil and religious liberties, the character of our 
institutions, and the hardy, resolute and enterprising 
spirit of the nation. Talents and virtues are alike 

56 Recollections of Albany. 

liereditary, though the stream is not always un- 
broken b}^ shallows, nor the measure of its greatness 
always full. There must, I think, have been a 
strona; fund of o-ood sense and native talent in the 
early Dutch settlers. We have seen it break out 
occasionally, even in the fourth and fifth genera- 
tions; and sometimes, too, quite unexpectedly, as in 
the case of Ex-President Van Buren,^ whose imme- 
diate antecedents gave no promise of such an erup- 
tion, or even foreshadowed the probability of such 
an event. Still, in all such cases, there must have 
been a living spring (ro. matter how remote) from 
whence the waters flowed. 

Among the Dutch families of Albany, in which 
a strong vein of original talent occasionally mani- 
fested itself, Avere those of the Schnjders, the Van 
Vechtens, the Lansings, and the Yateses. General 
Schuyler,^ of the Revolution, was a man of great 

1 Martin Van Buren, Avhile governor of the state, occupied a 
Iiouse in State street, next above the west corner of South- 
pearl, wliich had been erected by John Stevenson in tlie time of 
the Revohition, and was demohshed in 1841. 

2 Philip Schuyler died 18th Nov., 1804, aged 83. Tlie Dutch 
family of Schujder stands conspicuous in our colonial annals. 
Colonel Peter Schuyler was mayor of Albany, and commander of 
the northern militia in 1090. He was distinguished for his probity 
and activity in all the various duties of civil and militaiy life. No 
man understood better the relation of the colony with the Five 
Nations of Indians, or had more decided influence with that con- 
federacy. He had frequently chastised the Canadian French for 
their destructive incursions upon the frontier settlements ; and his 


No. 92 State Street. 
Erected 1780 : Demolished lt41. 


I \ .i^^vsr.^'- 

Recollections of Albany. 57 

vigor of mind, strong sense, and sound judgment; 

whicli was happily associated with liberal feelings, 

zeal and energy were rewarded by a seat in the provincial conncil, 
and the house of assembly gave their testimony to the British 
court of his faithful services and good reputation. It was this 
same vigilant officer who gave intelligence to the inhabitants of 
Deerfleld, on Connecticut river, of the designs of the French and 
Indians upon them, some short time before the destruction of that 
village in 1704 In 1720, as president of the council, he became 
acting governor of the colony for a short time, previous to the 
accession of Governor Burnet. His son, Colonel Philip Schuyler, 
was an active and efficient member of assembly for the city and 
county of Albany in 1748. Bat the Philip Schuyler here alluded 
to, and wiio in a subsequent age shed such signal lustre upon the 
family name, was born at Albany in the year 1783 ; and at an 
early age he began to display his active mind and military spirit. 
He was a captain in the New York levies at Fort Edward in 1755, 
and accompanied the British army in the expedition down Lake 
George in the summer of 1758. He was with Lord Howe when 
he fell by the lire of the enemy, on landing at the north end of 
the lake, and he was appointed to convey the body of that young 
and lamented nobleman to Albany, where he w^s buried with ap- 
propriate solemnities in the Episcopal church. We next find him 
under the title of Colonel Schuyler, in company with his com- 
patriot Ge6rge Clinton, in the year 1768, on the floor of the house 
of assembly, taking an active share in all their vehement dis- 
cussions. On the nineteenth of June, 1775, Philip Schuyler was 
appointed by congress the third major general in the armies of 
the United Colonies. In July, 1775, he was placed at the head of 
a board of commissioners for the northern department, and in 
September, 1775, was acting under positive instructions to enter 
Canada ; and he proceeded, with Generals Montgomery and Woos- 
ter under his command, to the Isle aux Noix. He had at that time 
become extremely ill, and was obliged to leave the command 
of the expedition to devolve upon Gen. Montgomery. His ac- 
tivity, skill and zeal shone conspicuously throughout that arduous 
northern campaign ; and his unremitting correspondence received 
the most prompt and marked consideration. On the thirtieth of 


58 RECOLLECxroNS OF Albany. 

and principles of honor and patriotism. He should 
by right have commanded that army in the revolu- 

December, 1775, lie was ordered to disarm tlie disaffected inhabit- 
ants of Tryon county, then under the iuiiuence of Sir Jolm Jolm- 
son ; and on the eighteenth of January following, he made a 
treaty witli the disaffected portion of the people in the western 
part of that state. On the eighth of January, 1776, he was ordered 
to have the St. Lawrence river, above and below Quebec, Avell ex- 
plored. On the twenty -fiftli of January he was ordered to have 
the fortress of Ticonderoga repaired and made defensible ; and on 
tlie seventeenth of February he was directed to take com- 
mand of the forces, and conduct the military operations at the city 
of New York. All tliese cumulative and conflicting orders from 
congress were made upon liim in the course of six weeks, and 
they were occasioned by tlie embarrassments and distresses of the 
times. In March, 1776, congress changed their plan of operation, 
and directed Gen. Schuyler to establish his head quarters at 
Albaii}', and superintend the army destined for Canada. By his 
thorough business habits, his precise attention to details, and by his 
skill and science in eveiy duty connected with the equipment of 
an army, he was admirably litted to be at the head of the com- 
missariat ; and he gave life and vigor to every branch of the 
service. On the fourteenth of June, 1776, he was ordered by 
congress to hold a treaty with the Six Nations, and engage them 
in the interest of the colonits. His pupaiaticrs for taking im- 
mediate possession of Fort Stanwix, and erecting a fortification 
there, received the approbation of congress. He was ordered, on 
the seventeenth of June, to clear Wood cicek, and construct a 
lock upon the creek at Skeensborough, and to take the level of the 
waters falling into the Hudson at Fort Edward and into Wood 
creek. On the first of August following, he was on the upper 
Molunvk, providing for its defense and security; and again in Oc- 
tober we find him on the upper Hudson, and calling upon the 
Eastern states for their niihtia. There can be no doubt that the 
norihern frontier, in the campaign of 1776, was indebted for its 
extraordinary quiet and security to the ceaseless activity of Gen. 
Schuyler. At the close of that year he was further instructed to 
build a floating battery on the lake, at the foot of Mount Indepen- 
dence, and also to strengthen the works at Fort Stanwix. In the 

Recollectio:n's of Albany. 59 

tioiiary war, which, in the day of battle, he joined 
as a volunteer, — a man greatly his inferior having 

midst of such conflicting and liarassing services, he liad excited 
niucli popular jealousy and ill will, arising from the energy of his 
character and the dignity of his deportment, and in October, 177G, 
tendered to congress the resignation of his commission ; but 
when congress came to investigate his ser^dces, they found them, 
saj-s the historian of "Wcvshington, far to exceed in value any esti- 
mate which had been made of tliem. They declared that they 
could not dispense with his services, during the then situation of 
affairs ; and they directed the president of congress to request him 
to continue in his command, and they declared their high sense of 
his services in the memorable campaign of 1777. Gen. Schuyler 
was still m the command of the whole northern department, and he 
made every exertion to check the progress of the enemy. Ticon- 
deroga being as.sailed, and suddeuty evacuated by Gen. St. Clair, 
Gen. Schuyler met on the upper Hudson the news of the retreat ; 
and he displayed, says the candid and accurate historian of Wash- 
ington, the utmost diligence and judgment in tliat gloomy state of 
things. He elfectually impeded the navigation of Wood creek. 
He rendered the roads impassable. He removed every kind of 
provisions and stores beyond the reach of the enemy. He sum- 
moned the mihtia of New York and New England to his assist- 
ance; and he answered the proclamation of Burgoyne by a 
counter proclamation, equally addressed to the hopes and fears of 
the country. Congress, by their resolution of the seventeenth of 
July, 1777, approved all the acts of Gen. Schuyler in reference to 
the army at Ticouderoga ; but the evacuation of that fortress ex- 
cited great discontent in the United States, and Gen, Schuyler did 
not escape his share of the popular clamor, and he was made a 
victim to appease it. It was deemed expedient to recall the general 
officers in the northern army, and in the month of August he 
was superseded in the command of that department by the arrival 
of Gen. Gates. The laurels which he was in preparation to win 
by his judicious and distinguished efforts, and which he would 
very shortly have attained, were by that removal intercepted from 
his brow. Gen. Schuyler felt acutely the discredit of being re- 
called in the most critical and interesting period of the campaign 

GO Recollections of Albany. 

been placed over his head. But no neo-lect or in- 
jury could alienate his feelings, or weaken his 
attachment to the cause of his country. 

of 1777, aud when the labor and activity of making preparations 
to repair tlic disaster of it liad been expended by liim ; and wlien 
an ojiportunity was opening, as he observed, for that resistance 
and retaHaton which might bring glory upon our arms. If error 
be attributable to the evacuation of Ticonderoga, says the his- 
torian of Washington, no portion of it w&s, committed by Gen- 
Schuyler. But his removal, though unjust and severe as respected 
himself, was rendered expedient, according to Chief Justice Mar- 
shall, as a sacrifice to the prejudices of New England. He was 
present at tlie capture of Burgoj-ne, but without any personal 
command, and the urbanity of his manners, and the chivalric 
magnanimity of his character, smarting as he was under the ex- 
tent and severity of his pecuniary losses, was attested by Gen. 
Burgoyue himself in his speech in 1778 in the British house of 
commons. He there declared, that, by his orders, " a veiy good 
dwelling-house, exceeding large store-houses, great saw-mills, and 
other out-buildings; to the value altogether perhaps of 10,000^., 
belonging to Gen. Schuyler, at Saratoga, were destroyed by tire, a 
few days before the surrender." He said further, that, one of the 
first persons he saw after the convention was signed, was General 
Schuyler; and when expressing to him his regret at the event 
whicli had happened to his property, Gen. Schuyler desired him 
"to think no more of it, and that the occasion justified it accord- 
ing to the principles and rules of war. He did more," said Bur- 
goyue ; " he sent an aid-de-camp to conduct me to Albany, in order, 
as he expressed it, to procure better quarters than a stranger 
might be able to find. That gentleman conducted me to a very 
elegant house, aud, to my great surprise, presented me to Mrs. 
Sclmyler and her family. In that house I remained during my 
whole stay in Albany, with a table with more than twenty covers 
for me and my friends, and every other possible demonstration of 
hospitahty." He had been elected to congress in 1777, and he 
was reelected in each of three following years. On his return to 
congress, after the termination of his military life, his talents, ex- 
perience and energy were put in immediate requisition. In 1781 




G2 Recollections oe Albany. 

living. He was one of tlie ablest members of 
the Albany bar, when that bar was studded with 
eminent names. 

Van Vechten in the shade. He soon ranked among his ilkis- 
trious seniors as an equal and a competitor for the higiiest pro- 
fessional eminence. Untiring in his efforts, the powers of his 
highly gifted mind were continually developed and expanded. 
His intellect was formed to grapple Avitli the most abstruse and 
difficult subjects of judicial investigation; and he early inured 
himself to the most intense application of mental industry. In 
acuteness and the ready comprehension of any subject presented 
for his investigation, he had few equals. And nature seemed to 
have furnished him with powers eminently adapted to the illus- 
tration of legal principles. He made no display of legal lore, his 
learning seemed to be incorporated Avith his thoughts. What he 
had once read was well digested and remained ever ready for ap- 
plication. A large portion of his life was spent in the discussion 
of legal questions in our highest tribunals of law and equity ; 
there he was always listened to with profound attention by our 
most eminent judges. His arguments Avere calculated to elucidate 
and instruct, and greatly to aid the tribunals to which they were 
addressed in forming correct conclusions. His style was re- 
markable for purity, perspicuity and strength. His train of 
thought was always logical and correct. In his manner he was 
usually calm and nnimpassioned, j^et earnest and forcible. His 
talents Avere too conspicuous to allow him to confine his efforts 
to the bar. He was repeatedly chosen to represent his fellow 
citizens in both branches of the legislature. The senate chamber 
was the theatre of some of his highest intellectual efforts. As a 
member of the court for the correction of errore he has left be- 
hind him enduring monuments of his legal wisdom. For a num- 
ber of years he filled the office of attorney general with distin- 
guislied ability. At an early period of his life a seat on the bench 
of the supreme court Avas offered to him by Gov. Jay ; a similar 
offer Avas made to him at a later period. He declined these prof- 
fered honors, preferring the labors of the bar as more congenial 
to his habits and his feelings. The causes in our books of re- 

Recollections of Albany. 63 

Chancellor Lansing,^ thougli not possessed of 
shining talents, was nevertheless a man of good 

ports in wbicli he took a part as counsel, numerous as they are, 
give 1)nt a faint idea of tlie amount of professional labor per- 
formed by him. For more than half a century his brilliant mind 
was constantly shedding its light over the jurisprudence of the 
state. The bar had long delighted to accord to him the highest 
honors they could bestow. To the younger mcmljers of the pro- 
fession he had greatly endeared himself by his kindness and 
courteous manners ; and by all he was venerated as an illustrious 
model of professional excellence. In his daily consultations 
with his clients he was emphatically a peace maker. It was his 
constant habit to advise to the settlement of disputes whenever 
it was practicable. He allowed no sordid motives to influence 
his advice, or to bias his mind in giving his opinions. 

He was recorder of the city of Albany from 1797 to 1808 ; state 
senator from 1798 to 1805, and from 1816 to 1820; meml^er of 
assembly from 1805 to 1815 ; attorney general of the state for the 
year 1810, and was again appointed in 1813, and served two years ; 
and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1821. 

His character as a citizen in the private walks of life afforded a 
model of excellence. He constantly displayed in his intercourse 
with his neighbors and acquaintances the most amial)le social 
qualities which adorn the human heart. To his other traits of 
character was added one which is justly deemed of far the most 
importance ; he was a sincere believer in the Savior of tlie Avorld 
and a venerated member of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 
her judicatories his paternal counsels were listened to with re- 
verence, as eminently calculated to promote the peace and pros- 
perity of the church. His disinterestedness was a prominent 
feature in his character and was the foundation of that unl)ounded 
confidence which Avas reposed in him by all who knew him. In 
his domestic circle he was remarkable for kindness and affection- 
ate attention to the feelings and wants of those who were, depend- 
ent upon him. 

iJoHN Lansing Jr. disappeared on the 12th December, 1829, in 
the city of New York, and was never more heard of He went out 
from the City Hotel in the evening, which was stormy, it is 

64 Recollections op Albany. 

abilities and of strict integrity. His brother, Abra- 
ham G.,^ was a man of sound sense and vigorous 
tone of mind; rough, and somewhat aijrupt in his 
manner, but upright, frank and fearless, in conduct 
and in character. 

supposed to deposit a letter in the box wliicli was provided in the 
river steam-boats, for the accommodation of letters too late for the 
mail, and is supposed to have been drowned. His age was 76. 
No event had caused a deeper sensation in the city since the death 
of De Witt Clinton. At an early period of his life he entered the 
ofhce of Robert Yates, afterwards chief justice, as a clerk in the 
study of the law. He afterwards became a member of the mili- 
tary family of Gen Philip Schujder, and during the revolutionary 
war was a distinguished member of the state convention that 
conducted the civil and military operations of the state. He soon 
after was appointed mayor of the city, and in 1787 was, with Chief 
Justice Yates and General Hamilton, delegated by the state as a 
member of the convention which formed the constitution of the 
United States. It is well known what part those gentlemen took 
in the discussions connected with that subject. Chief Justice 
Yates and Chancellor Lansing Avithdrew from the convention, 
and were known as anti-federalists. They opposed the adoption 
of the constitution principally because it did not more etfectnally 
secure the rights of the individual states ; and to those men and 
their copatriots we are indebted for the ten amended articles 
which were subsequently made a part of that constitution. On 
his return he was made a judge of the supreme court, chief justice 
and finally chancellor of the state. His residence was on the 
north-west corner of Broadway and Steuben street. For a more 
extended sketch of him see Street's Council of Bemsion, 159-64. 

^Abraham G. Lansing died in Sept., 1834, aged 77. He was 
an active supporter of the American revolution, and held several 
important offices during that struggle ; at the close of the war he 
received appointments to various responsible offices, state and 
national, all of which he discharged creditably. 

Recollections of Albany. 


Old Judge Yates/ one of the members of the con- 
veution that framed the constitution, was a clear- 
headed, strong-minded man; straight foi'ward, 
honest and patriotic. His son, John Yan IS'ess 
Yates,^ was a man of talents, both natural and 
acquired. He was equal to the duties of any sta- 
tion, and to the difhculties of any task. He was a 
wit, a poet, a belles-lettres scholar, and a boon com- 
panion, whose joke was ever ready, and whose 
laugh was contagious. He wanted nothing but 
industry and self-respect, to have made him emi- 
nent as a lawyer. His associations were beneath 

1 Robert Yates, a man of great intellectual power, was born 
in Schenectady, 27tli .Jan., 1738; in 1777 lie was appointed one 

of the first justices of the supreme 
court of the state, and in 1790 became 
chief justice. His house stood on the 
site of 106 State street, and was after 
his death occupied by his son John 
Van Ness Yates. After the death of 
the latter it was converted to divers 
uses, until 26th June, 185o, when it 
FFIi '.l' I in "in Ml:JIS3Hli, was demolished, for the erection of the 

present structure. In 1765 Mr. Yates 
married Jane Van Ness ; he died 9th September, 1801. For an 
extended biography of him see Street's Council of Revision, 168-72. 

2 John Van Ness Yates died 10th Jan., 1838, aged 60. He 
held various civil and military offices, and was secretary of state 
in 1824. In 1807 a quota of 12,000 men was required to be raised 
to prevent British aggression ; he commanded a company of 
light infantry, which unanimously tendered their services to the 
president, and signified to him by letter their immediate readiness 
for actual service. 


66 Recollections of Albany. 

biin, not only in point of talent, but in character; 
yet they affected his interests rather than his princi- 
ples, lie possessed the readiest apprehension, and 
the most retentive memory, of any man I ever knew. 
All that he had ever read, and he had read a vast 
deal, -was at his fingers ends. He was often con- 
sulted by the younger members of the bar, while 
walking in the streets; and, without a moment's 
hesitation, would take out his pencil and write down 
what was the law in the case, and where it was to 
be found — volume, chapter and verse. From these 
frequent street consultations, he was called 21ie 
Walking Library. 

But the cleverest man of the name or fiimily, 
was John "W. Yates. ^ lie was a man of education, 
of talents, of natural eloquence, and of extensive 
reading. He Avas the best classical scholar in the 
city — Judge Kent not excepted. He was famibar 
with the Greek, Latin and Fj-ench languages and 
literature; a mathematician, and a passionate lover 
of the belles-lettres. He was bred to the law but 

^ John W. Yates, cashier of the New York State Bank died 
28tli March, 1828, aged 58. He received a liberal education, 
having been graduated at Columbia College in 1787. Although 
educated for the bar, he became a clerli in tlie Bank of Albany, 
where he continued until tlie incorporation of tlie New York 
State Bank, when he received the appointment of its first casliier. 
He held the office twenty-four years, and sustained the character 
of a man of integrity and of business talents. 

Recollections of Albany. 67 

never attempted to practice ; yet, I repeat, he was 
naturally eloquent, and, in his buoyant moments, 
one of the most lively and agreeable men in con- 
versation that I ever met with. 

Such a man, it is natural to suppose, made a 
figure in his day: no such thing; he made no 
figure at all. He was not appreciated by the 
public, because the public knew nothing of him. 
He was not known even to his friends, for the very 
good and sufficient reason tliat his friends knew 
nothing of Greek or Latin, of mathematics or of 
poetry. It was curious to find him reading Homer 
with a pipe in his mouth ; and to see him turn 
from the page of Thucydides, to talk Dutch. Yet 
this alternation between the languages of Athens 
and Amsterdam, was in some measure unavoida- 
ble ; for many of his old friends, and indeed most 
of the old families, continued to speak, in their 
domestic circles, the language of their ancestors 
long after the period to which these sketches refer. 

Though no man set a higher value upon literary 
acquirements than himself, yet he took no pains 
to exhibit, much less to profit by those he pos- 
sessed. Political distinction he never sought, and 
never desired. He had no taste for popular parade, 
no love for public display. He was in fact better 
acquainted with Pericles and Xenophon than he 

68 Recollections or Albany. 

was with the alderman of the ward in which he 
lived. His knowledge of ancient history was more 
perfect than that of any other man I ever knew, 
nor was that of modern Europe less familiar. 
History, poetry and philosophy ; Egypt and Asia, 
Athens and Rome, with all their classic supersti- 
tions and diviner arts, were the suhjects of many 
an evening conversation, to wdiich I listened with 

To this faint sketch of his literary character, I 
may add, that no man possessed a higher sense of 
honor, or was governed in his conduct by purer 
principles. His talents and his tastes w^ere, indeed, 
altjQg^h^r-aW^^the position in which he was 
plfiGed': aiwi ?5i^iii<?ev instead of a-ivins^ him celebrity, 
tliQy served but to render him, in some measure, 
uniui.|cdxts>^:7tliia>;8«iiatii)n he held. Rut never will 
thi^t 'station,"6r that o|dcial rank, be again honored 
with so much learning, combined with so much 

Let it not be supposed that this is a mere fancy 
sketch, "writ for the sake of writing it." It is a 
tribute justly due to the memory of a man whose 
merits were unappreciated, and comparatively 
unknown. It is a tribute which I owe to the 
recollection of his partiality and kindness; to the 
memory of many a friendly lecture — many a social 
— many a pleasant hour. 




Erected 1803. 

Recollections of Albany. 69 

Of the public men of Albany, office bolders, 
politicians and jurists, it may be expected that I 
should say something. Among- the most promi- 
nent were George Clinton,^ John Taylor,^ Ambrose 
Spencer,^ James Kent,^ Chancellor Lansing,^ Abra- 

1 George Clinton, first governor of the state of New York, 
and vice-president of tlie United States, was the youngest son of 
Col. Charles Clinton. He died 20th April, 1812, aged 72. 

2 John Tayler was born in New York, 4th July, 1742, and at 
the age of 17 removed to Albany. In the last two years of the 
French war he was with the army at Lake George and Oswego 
as a trader, and at the latter place acquired the Indian language. 
He continued in this employment until 1771, when he settled on 
a small farm at Stillwater, whei-e he resided two years, and re- 
turned to Albany. He engaged in trade, and early in the revo- 
lution was entrusted by Gen. Schuyler with an important ser- 
vice in Canada. He Avas subsequently elected a member of the 
provincial congress and state convention. In 1777-79, '80, '81, 
'86, '87, he was in the ?.ssembly, and in 1802 and 1804-14 in the 
senate. Upon the death of Lieut. Gov. Broome, he was chosen 
president of the senate, Jan., 1811 ; and from 1814 to 1822 he 
held the office of Ueutenant governor by election ; and from Feb- 
24 to July, 1817, he acted as governor in place of Gov. Tompkins, 
elected to tbe vice-presidency. In 1802 he was elected a regent 
of the university, and in 1814 became chancellor of the board. 
He died at his residence in Albany, 19th March, 1829. His house 
was the site of the present Cooper's Building. His portrait hangs 
in the New York State Bank at Albany, of which he was the first 
president. See Street's Council of Revision, 147. 

3 Ambrose Spencer died 13th March, 1848, aged 82. He was 
attorney general in 1802, and judge of the supreme court in 1819. 
Although a Federalist at first, he early joined the Republicans, 
and was the warm friend of De Witt Clinton, two of whose sisters 
he married for his second and third wives. His residence was in 
Washington street, since occupied by his sou John C. 

* James Kent died in New York, 13th Dec, 1847, aged 84. 
s John Lansing Jr., ante, p. 63. 

70 Eecollections of Albany. 

ham Van Vechteu/ John V. Ileniy,- John Wood- 
worth,^ Thos. Tillotson,* Ahraham G. Lansimg,^ 
Ehsha Jenkhis,*^ Edmoncl Charles Genet/ and Last, 

^Abraham Van Vechten, ante, p. 61. 

- John V. Henry fell iu the street and died of apoplexy, 22d 
Oct., 1829, aged 64. 

3 John Woodworth died 1st June, 1858, aged 90. See Beminis- 
cences of Troy, 2d ed., p. 31. 

■* Thomas Tillotson was secretary of state fz-om 1801 to 1807; 
he came from Redhook, Dutchess county, and returned thither. 
He was also member of assembly iu 1788, and state senator from 
1791 to 1799. 

^Elisha Jenkins. — This gentleman was the most distinguished 
member of the once numerous and wealthy famil}^ whose name is 
inseparably connected with the early history of the city of Hud- 
son. Though liberally educated, his turn of mind led him to 
mercantile rather than to professional pursuits : and he became a 
leading partner in the well known house of Thomas Jenkins & 
Sons. Retiring from business with a competent fortune, he took 
an active part in the political contest that brought Mr. Jefferson 
into power. Shortly after that event, he removed from Hudson 
to Albany, where he received the appointment of comptroller, 
and subsequently that of secretary of state. He was a man of 
excellent sense and sound judgment: and carried with him into 
public life, amenity of manners, strict integrity, and business 
habits. He was an accomplished merchant, an upright and in- 
telligent public officer, a liberal minded politician, and a perfect 
gentleman in every walk of life. 

^Edmond C. Genet died at his farm in Grreenbush near Al- 
bany, 14th July, 1834, aged 71. He arrived in this country in 
1793, as minister plenipotentiary from France, to reside at 
Cliarleston ; but having authorized the arming of vessels in that 
port against nations with whom the nation was at peace, his re- 
call was demanded by Washington. Yet he continued to reside 
here during his lifetime, took an interest in agriculture, and the 
improvement of the navigation of the river below Albany, advo- 
cating a ship canal, which he followed up with great pertinacity 
for a number of j^ears, but without success. 





Recollections of Albany. 71 

though not least, the editor of the Albany Register, 
Solomon Southwick ! These are names too well 
known to require any comment. Ilamj of them 
are identified with the history of the state, and will 
be chronicled in its pages. 

I cannot in courtesy, however, pass over my old 
friend Southwick,^ without some other notice than 
that of a mere casual glance of recognition. 

Southwick was a man of genius, wnth all the 
peculiarities that belong to that temperament — its 
strength and its weakness, its excellencies and its 
errors: its delusive dreams and visions, its impro- 
vidence and its instability. He had great fertility 
of mind, united with great enthusiasm. This was 
the source of his eloquence and his power. His 
writings were rather outpourings than compositions. 
Yet he imbued them with so much life and anima- 
tion, that he seldom failed to carry his readers with 
them. His style, though w^ell adapted to the popu- 
lar ear, was redundant in epithet, inflated and 
declamatory, and his language, though often strong 
and impressive, was yet in the main, loose and 

1 Solomon Sotjtetw^ck was born at Newport, K. I., 25th Dec, 
1773, and died in Albany, 18th Nov., 1839, aged 66. He came to 
this city in 1792, and connected liimself witli the Albany Register, 
conducted by Robert Barber, whose sister he married, and wliom 
he succeeded, as proprietor of tlie Begistei\ in 1808. For an ex- 
tended biography of him see Annals of Albany , V, 104. His widow 
died 30 Jan., 1861, aged 88. 

72 Recollections of Albany. 

inelegant. He read but little, and only from ne- 
cessity. He referred to books for particular facts, 
rather than for general information. 

He was, by nature, honest, warm-hearted and 
generous to a fault, but seemed to have no fixed 
or settled principles. In ethics, as well as in 
politics, he traveled from pole to pole. Yet the 
kindness of his nature went with him and never 
forsook him. His heart and his hand were always 
open ; and as he was credulous to excess, and 
even superstitious, he was, as a matter of course, 
swindled by every knave, and duped by every 
impostor he met with upon the road. 

He was extremely fluent and even eloquent in 
conversation. But he had little knowledge.of the 
world, and the predominance of interest or of 
passion, left his judgment too often at fault. He 
had the finest eye and forehead that ever belonged 
to mortal man, but every feature of his face was 
either indifferent or defective. His countenance, 
therefore, was an index to the character of his 
mind — incongruous, mixed, and full of contra- 

The Alhamj Register,'^ which he so long and 
ably edited, was pronounced, by Judge Spencer, 

1 The Albany F^gister was begun in 1788, by the Republicans, the 
Albany Gazette having become identified with the Federal party. 


Erect L'd 1811. 

Recollections of Albany. 73 

to bo the " Political Bible of the Western District." 
A greater compliment was certainly never paid 
to the conductor of a political journah 

Mr South wick held, at different periods, the 
office of state printer, clerk of the house of as- 
sembly, sherifi of the county of Albany, president 
of the Mechanics and Farmers' Bank, and post- 
master of the city. Even in the cloudy days of 
his latter years, when friends, fame and fortune 
had forsaken him, when every objectionable act 
of his life was spread upon the record, and all his 
faults and weaknesses blazoned to the public eye ; 
even then he received over thirty thousand votes 
for governor of the state. 

For a long time both parties had used the columns of the latter 
paper, the editors refraining from any political writing of their 
own, and when the proceedings of political meetings were too vo- 
luminous for the small sheet then printed, the surplus matter was 
issued in handbills, or broadsides. Robert Barber, who had been 
an apprentice in the G-azette office, purchased his remaining time, 
and was placed at the head of the Register. John Barber, the 
brother of Robert, was a teacher, and his assistance was called 
into the concern. Robert died in 1808, and John in 1812. Mr. 
Southwick came into the establishment in 1792, and soon took a 
prominent position in it. He wielded a great power during nearly 
a quarter of a century ; but it was announced in the Register of 
13th May, 1817, that it was determined to stop its publication, 
not for want of subscribers, he says, but on account of their delin- 
quency. His subscribers are supposed to have been universally 
acquainted Avith the story related by Rabelais, of one Phillipot 
Plact, who though brisk and hale, fell dead as he was paying an 
old debt, which doubtless deterred them from paying theirs, fear- 
ing a like accident. 


74 Eecollections of Albany. 

Of the clergy of those days, if I am wise, I shall 
say hut little: first, because I recollect but little; 
and secondly, because with me, the subject is 
not a debatable one. One's opinions, unless 
moulded early, are often formed by accident, or 
spring up as the result of circumstances. It has 
often occurred to me as not a little singular, that 
my attention should have been turned to the 
unkindred subjects of politics and religion, at 
about the same period of time. The noise and 
triumph of Mr. Jefferson's election to the presi- 
dency, led me to look a little into the m3'sterious 
philosophy of party politics ; and the preaching 
of Dr. jSTott, ' carried me, nolens volens, into the 
Presbyterian brick church of South-pearl street.^ 
Thus I acquired, at nearly one and the same time, 
a decided inclination to church and state; or, in 

' Of all the persons mentioned in tliese reminiscences, it is be- 
lieved Dr. Nott is the only survivor. He was born in Ashford, 
Conn., 25th June, 1773. 

^Tbis is the oldest chm'ch edifice in the city, liaving been 
erected in 1796, and is now occupied by the Congregationalists, 
under Dr. Palmer. There Avere not at this time more than seven 
or eight church edifices. Two of these were Dutch Reformed, 
one Lutheran, one Episcopal, one Presbyterian, one German Re- 
formed, which may at this time have been occupied by the Se- 
ceders, and one Catholic. These are mentioned in the order of 
seniority. There was also a society of Scotch Presbyterians, 
and of Methodists; the traveler Rochefaucault-Liancourt says 
the latter had a society here in 1794; whether they had a church 
or worshipped in private houses does not appear. 



Recollections of Albany. 75 

other words, a marked taste for politics and 
preaching. No one certainly, could have studied 
~ under abler masters ; and for many of the opinions 
I entertain to this day, I hold those masters 

But the only names belonging to the church, of 
which my memory took cognizance, at the period 
referred to, or of which I have any distinct recol- 
lection, are those of Nott, Romaine and Bradford.^ 

Mr. Bradford was a well educated — well read — 
and gentlemanly man. He was, moreover, one 
of the handsomest men in the city, which in the 
minds or fancies of the fairer part o'f .-his • congre- 
gation, added no doubt to his elo"q,uenqe, and:' of 
course to his usefulness in the church. Mr. B.0-. 
maine was an able man, of a. den^unciatojL'y. and 
vehement style of oratory — altogether too Ga-lViii- 
istic to suit the taste of his hearers. But it must 
be remembered that, 

1 John Melancthon Bradford was born in Danbuiy, Conn., 
IStli May, 1781, and was ordained and installed pastor of the Re- 
formed Protestant Dutch Church in Albany, 11th Aug., 1805. He 
was called by resolution of an extraordinary meeting of the great 
consistory, under a salary of $1,500. He was to be required to 
preach but once on each sabbath, during the first year, and his 
salary was to be increased $250 in the event of his marriage. He 
continued in the pastoral charge about fifteen years, commanding 
large audiences, and ranking among the distinguished pulpit ora- 
tors of the day. He died 25th March, 1826, aged 45. 

76 Recollections of Albany. 

" No rogue tliat e'er felt tlie lialter draw, 
Witli good opinion of tlie law." 

Doctor Kott, I should say, was neither a Cal- 
vinist nor a Lutheran. In other words he was 
no bio-oted sectarian ; and in this respect, he bore, 
and still bears I think, but little resemblance to 
many of his clerical brethren. In 7nmd, as well 
as in manner, he stood alone. The narrow dogmas, 
and common place oratory of the church, were 
l)cneath him. His ambition was to make men 
■wiser and better, rather than to promote the sec- 
tarian interests and speculative tenets of the 
church. The eloquent enforcement of that single 
injunction " to do unto others as you would have 
others do unto you," would to an unsophisticated 
mind be of more efficacy than a dozen dry dis- 
courses iqwn evidence, which no novice requires, or 
upon those knotty points in theology, which no 
intellect can comprehend. Bat it is not my 
business to preach, nor am I disposed to criticise 
the preaching of others. All I mean to say is, 
that Doctor Kott was by far the most eloquent and 
eiiective preacher of the period to which I refer; 
that he drew together the largest congregation — 
made the deepest impression, and commanded the 
profoundest respect. 

Piiinte cl., by Am & s 

lin ■^f. Ijv AJ: X) urand . 

MUTo nuiPMiiiLiii' mmT.'T mm. ililBo 

Recollections of Albany. 77 

His cluircli was filled to overflowing. His ap- 
pearance in the pulpit, liis style of eloquence, his 
very look, 

" Drew audience and attention still as night, 
Or summer's noontide air " 

His elocution was admirable, and his manner alto- 
gether better, because more impressive, than that 
of any other preacher of the day: yet he could not, 
I think, have been over twenty-eight or thirty years 
of age when I first heard him, which was in 1803. 
 Shortly afterwards I had the pleasure of becoming 
personally acquainted with him, and soon found he 
possessed powers and qualities of which his congre- 
gation little dreamed. His talents were by no means 
confined to pulpit eloquence, nor even to the 
wider range of clerical duties. His information 
extended to almost every department of life; and 
with the whole fabric of human society he was per- 
fectly familiar. He understood the animal man, 
not only in the abstract, but in all the detail of 
action, passion and propensity. He was, moreover, 
a mechanist, a political economist, a philosopher, 
and what is of more consequence in any icalk of life, 
a man of keen observation and sound sense. But 
he is still living, and too widely known, to reciuire 
any portraiture from my pen. 

78 Recollections of Albany. 


Among other incidents and events, falling within 
the range of these reminiscenes, was the famous 
2MSsage of arms, that took place between an eminent 
citizen and a distinguished general/ in one of the 
principal streets of the city, in open day. It was 
a perilous, hand to hand encounter, that brought 
together, at least, one half of the male population 
of the town — not as spectators merely, but as com- 
batants, who, like the knights of old, entered the 
lists with an alacrity and a spirit that would have 

iJoHN Tayler and Solomon Van Rensselaer. This af- 
fray took place 21st April, 1807, a few days before the general 
election. It grew out of the hostility engendered among the 
leaders of the two great parties, the Federalists and Republicans, 
by the publication of incendiary resolutions in the public news- 
papers and in handbills, which became lurid with patriotic 
emotion, as the day of election appropinquated. The pungent 
resolutions of the Republicans at their meeting whereat Mr. Elisha 
Jenkins was secretary, sat heavily upon the brain-pans of the 
Federalists, and pricked on Gen. Solomon Van Rensselaer to test 
the efficacy of personal chastisement. Accordingly, as appears by 
the testimony of witnesses, he overtook Mr. Jenkins walking 
leisurely down State street, and felled him with his cane. In the 
afternoon of the same day, as he was perambulating the same 
street, he was accosted by Gov. Tayler anent the unprovoked 
assault of the morning. The parties immediately squared off for 
an encounter, and a multitude at once surrounded them. As 
they were very nearly in front of Gov. Tayler's house, Dr. Charles 
D. Cooper came to the assistance of his father-in-law, and at- 
tempted to separate the combatants ; Mrs. Cooper also entering 
the melcc for the same purpose. Francis Bloodgood, another 
relation by marriage, approached Gen. Van Rensselaer from be- 

Recollections of Albany. 79 

done lienor to the heroes of chivahy, when chivahy 
was in its prime, and knighthood in its glory. The 
full breadth of State street, from Pearl down to the 
intersection of Court and Market, was literally 
filled with the combatants ; while the doors, porches, 
windows, and even the house-tops on both sides, 
were crowded with astonished and terrified specta- 
tors. The street, viewed from any elevated posi- 
tion, resembled a tumultuous sea of heads, over 
which clattered a forest of canes ; the vast body 
now surging this way, now that, as the tide of com- 
bat ebbed or flowed. It was, certainly, one of the 

hind, and struck him down with a cane. Here the combatants 
were separated, Gen. Van Rensselaer being very seriously 
wounded. A trial of both cases of assault and battery ensued, on 
the 16th, 17th and 18th August, 1808, before Simeon De Witt, 
James Kane, and John Van Schaick, arbitrators. The following 
awards were given, with costs against the defendants in each 

Jenkins against Van Rensselaer, $2,500. 

Van Rensselaer against Tayler, 300. 

Van Rensselaer against Cooper, 500. 

Van Rensselaer against Bloodgood, 3,700. 

The trial was published in a pamphlet, where the curious reader 
may find the whole testimony elicited, and the argiunents at 
length of the eminent counsel, six in number ; consisting of Abra- 
ham Van Vechten, Elisha Williams and John AVoodworth, for 
Gen. Van Rensselaer ; and Thomas R. Gold, Ebenezer Foote and 
John Champlin, for Messrs. Jenkins, Tayler, Cooper and Blood- 
good. Gov. Tayler was then sixty-five years of age, and Gen. 
Van Rensselaer in the prime of life. The excitement of political 
strife never before nor since drew men of their character and 
standing into such an extraordinary colUsion in the streets ot 

80 Kecollections op Albany. 

most classic or Greek-like battles that had been 
fought since the wars of Ilium, and the heroic daj^s 
of Hector and Achilles. But as it respects the 
origin of the war, the names of the combatants 
and the details of the fight, are they not written in 
the book of the kings of Judah and Israel ! If not, 
they may, perhaps, be found in the chronicles of 
the lives of the illustrious fathers of the city. Cer- 
tain it is that the battle has already been described; 
and the record, like the Iliad, will be found imper- 
ishable ! 

It is a little curious, when we consider what 
Albany now is, to look back and recollect, that 
so late as 1803, there was but one public house in 
the city; or, at least, but one in any respect better 
than a common signpost tavern, such as no gentle- 
man of the present day would put his foot in : but 
that one was an excellent one. I allude to the 
Tontine Coife.e House in State street, kept by Mr. 
Gregory •} a house distinguished from all other 
public houses of that day, by the quiet order that 

1 Matthew Gregory was born in a part of Norwalk, Conn., 
now Wilton, 21st Angust, 1757. His fatlier was Ezra Gregory, 
who was born in the same place in 1726, and his grandfather Dea- 
con Matthew Gregory, born 1680, bej^ond whom the family cannot 
be traced. The house occupied by the latter is supposed to have 
been erected about 1650, and was succeeded by the present Gregory 

Recollections of Albany. 81 

reigned through all its departments; by its perfect 
neatness, and the total absence of a bar. The higher 
rates of fare charged at the Tontine, and the fact 

House in 1750, which is still in excellent repair. It was built 
about two hundred feet from the site of the first house by Deacon 
Matthew Gregory who died in it in May, 1777, aged 97. His arm 
chair is still preserved. His sons were Matthew and Ezra, the lat- 
ter born 21st May, 1726, married 20th Jan., 1751, and died at the 
Gregory House (where he lived, and where all his children were 
born) at a time of life not much past his prime. He had seven sons 
and two daughters, most of whom lived to an advanced age. The 
third son was Matthew, the subject of this sketch. The youngest 
daughter, Mrs. Betts, is still living at Meadville, Penn., aged 95. 
The fourth son was Closes, who occupied the homestead till his 
death, 28d May, 1837, aged 75 — a homestead which has known 
six generations, whose lives reach back through a period of one 
hundred and eighty-five years. To this place the members of the 
family have ever made periodical visits, especially on the feast days 
of Connecticut. The neat old mansion, the old door with its glass- 
eyed windows, the trees with their heavy and luxuriant foliage, 
are there as in other days — but the sound of familiar footsteps 
and voices are no more — the Gregory House has but a single occu- 
pant. Mr. Gregory entered the army a month after the war was 
declared, at the age of 17. He received the warrant of seijeant 
in the 8th Connecticut regiment, Col. John Chandler, 1st July, 
1777 ; 19th JSTov., 1778, was promoted to serjeant-major, and 20th 
April, 1779, was commissioned an ensign by congress. He was at 
the battles of White Plains, Monmouth, and perhaps at Trenton. 
He shared the hardships of the forlorn hope at Valley Forge dur- 
ing the terrible winter of 1777-78. In the latter years of his life 
he frequently reverted to the hardships he endured there, " sleeping 
on hoop poles, having only salt meat, and but little of it, and getting 
the scurvy." He participated in the capture of Cornwallis, which 
was a theme his enthusiasm kindled upon to the latest period of 
his life. It was also one of the proud events of his soldier life, 
that while he was with the army during one winter at West Point, 
he dined three times with General Washington. On the 10th 
February, 1783, he was commissioned by congress first lieutenant 


82 Recollections of Albany. 

that no liquors were sold except to its own boarders, 
nor ever seen except at table, exclnded the loiv and 
thirsty/, and left it, as it were, by a law of its nature, 

in the Connecticut line. He was in the service seven years and 
eiglit months, lacldng but one month of the whole period of the 
war. On the termination of the war Lieut. Gregory returned to 
his native town. In 1789 he became a member of the Cincinnati, 
his diploma of membership bearing the signature of Washington. 
About 1791 he removed to Waterford, Sar. Co., N. Y., where he 
kept a small inn, at which Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison were 
severally his guests. He came to Albany in 1803, and took charge 
of the Tontine, which was a distinguished institution of the city. 
His education had been mostly gained in the army. In business 
he was prompt, attentive, industrious and careful ; his manners 
dignified, but cold. He was a man of great neatness, exact m his 
dress, having always the appearance and manner of a gentleman, 
and wore the style of dress incident to the fashion of the latter part 
ofthe last century, as late as 1816. Mr. Gregory became the pro- 
prietor of the Eagle Tavern, on the corner of Court and Hamilton 
streets it is thought as early as 1806. It was conducted on the same 
general plan as the Tontine had been, and was almost equally distin- 
guished. It was a great place of resort during the war with Great 
Britain. Having acquired a fortune, Mr. Gregory retired from 
business in 1814, at the age of 57, and purchased the property 
known as Congress Hall, in one of the residences of which he 
lived nearly thirty-five years. From this time his life and surround- 
ings were that of a gentleman of leisure. He was one of the 
committee appointed to meet Gen. La Faj^ette and escort him to 
the city in 1824 ; and it was in liis parlor that the general held one 
of his receptions. Mr. Gregory moved in a life that was as regular 
as the succession of the seasons. He annually made a visit to the 
place of his birth, and as there were no rail roads in those days, he 
usually went with carriage, driver, daughter and grand-children. 
At the age of eighty-seven he was still erect, active, sprightly, 
fashionably dressed, but his thoughts never moved out of a pre- 
scribed circle, nor did his life deviate from certain fixed habits. 
He rose early and went to the barber's before breakfast. His 
am])ition was to get there before Dr. Peter Wendell. However 






























rrTc ^4EW >fuiArv 



Recollections of Albany. 83 

open to good company alone. I need not say that 
it was well -tilled: it was, at least half the year, 
reduntantly fall. All travelers of any note or con- 
cold, slippeiy or stormy, it was indispensable to go to the barber's 
and walk a mile before breakfast. And although he merely Avent 
around the block, he seemed mentally to enjoy his full mile. If 
he rode it was always at eleven ; and if accomi:»auied by guests, his 
direction was invariably Colioes and Waterford, and he arrived 
home to dine at three. He had a habit of going to thereof to ex- 
amine the gutters, and could not be persuaded that it was unsafe for 
a man of his years to venture in such places. He insisted that he had 
never tkllen there in all his life ; and although his friends expected 
that he would come tumbling down, it seemed to be no part of 
his plan. At 12 o'clock noon, he took gin and water with a cracker, 
and drank wine witli his dinner. In the evening he dosed in his 
chair, or walked tlie floor. He would persLst.that he never slept 
in the day time, although he miglit have jiHsf jiraked from a' clever . 
slumber in his chair. He uniformly retired-^vheufhe clOCk stliicli'; 
ten, and if the j^oung people Avished to get him io" bed' «'kr}iH''^it 
could only be done by setting the clock forward. He as persist4 
ently declared that he had not been angry-'in ?feirtyy;^|]js, JiJ^iouglf 
an attempt to correct him on this poin't IC^'-'tS^a ids»o»)ii'stjTition 
of the fallacy of his memoiy. He attebded.j2hurdi as method- 
ically and exactly as he did everything else. During the^sessiohs 
of the legislature he went frequently to the senate, and was always 
honored with a seat within the bar. He attended with great reau- 
larity the meetings of the board of directors of the Bank of Albany, 
of which he was long a member. He attended to his own busi- 
ness exclusively to the close of his life, and never extended any 
confidence in relation to his finances. Mr. Gregory was approach- 
ing the close of his ninety-first year when his vigor suddenly waned, 
and he expired on the 4th of June, 1848. A full length portrait of 
him hangs in the Orphan asylum, an institution which he befriended 
in his will. He had two children, botli of whom he survived. 
His sou never married. His daughter was the wife of Dr. Joel 
A. "Wing; she died in 1837. His grandson, Matthew Gregory 
Wing, was graduated at Yale in 1847, resided several years in 
Europe, and died at Santa Fe, New Mexico, 5th July, 1800, aged 

84 Recollections of Albany. 

sequence ; all foreigners of distinction ; in one word 
all gentlemen put up at the Tontine.^ For a period 
of some ten or twelve years, Mr. Gregory had no 
competition, no rival house to contend with ; and 

^In July, 1792, a meeting of citizens was held for the purpose 
of organizing a company for the purpose of erecting a commodi- 
ous public house. The plan of a constitution was drawn up, 
under which the company was to take the name of the Albany 
Hotel-Tontine Company, the capital of which was fixed at 
$15,000, divided into 1,000 shares. The price of the lot was fixed 
at $3,000; the cost of the building, at $10,000 ; outhouses, $1,000 ; 
furniture, $1,000. The plan was thought to be " a happy inven- 
tion to secure an advantageous property to children who may 
arrive to years of discretion." Individuals were entreated by the 
Gazette not to monopolize more than ten shares ! This scheme 
seems to have failed at this time, but was resumed a few years 
later, and resulted in the erection of the building, now numbered 
51 and 53 State street. It seems to have been completed in 1798, 
and first occupied by Ananias Piatt, who had previously kept a 
public house in Lansingburgh, and was the pioneer of the stage 
proprietors between Albany, Troy and Lansingburgh. In May, 
1801, it came into the hands of Mr. Gregory, who issued the 
following advertisement : 

^'Tontine Coffee House. — Mat. Gregory, from the village of 
Waterford, has taken the Tontine Coffee House, State street, in 
the city of Albany. He has also provided himself with a large 
yard, stable, &c., for horses and carriages, for convenience of the 
gentleman traveler. The house has been kept for three years 
past by Mr. Ananias Piatt, and will be open and ready to wait 
on those who may be pleased to call on him, the 15th inst. Every 
attention in his line of business shall be strictly attended to, by 
the public's humble servant. Mat. Gregory." 

This house is alluded to by Mr. John Lambert, an English tra- 
veler, who visited Albany in 1807, who speaks also of the dietetic 
customs of the day. "We had excellent accommodations at 
Gregory's, which is equal to many of our hotels in London. It 
is the custom in all the American taverns, from the highest to the 

Recollections of Albany. 85 

was therefore compelled, I do not say reluctantly, to 
make a fortune ! 

Manners, 'tis said, change with customs; and 
customs, we all know, change sometimes for the 
worse. I have seen something of puhlic houses 

lowest, to have a sort of iahU dliote, or public table, at which the 
inmates of the house and travelers dine together at a certain 
hour. It is also frequented by many single gentlemen belonging 
to the town. At Gregory's upwards of thirty sat down to dinner, 
though there were not more than a dozen who resided in the 
house. A stranger is thus soon introduced to an acquaintance 
with the people, and if he is traveling alone he will find at these 
tables some relief from the ennui of his situation. At the better 
sort of American taverns or hotels, very excellent dinners are 
provided, consisting of almost every thing in season. The hour 
is from two to three o'clock, and there are three meals in the day. 
They breakfast at eight o'clock upon rump steaks, fish, eggs, and 
a variety of cakes, with tea or coffee. The last meal is at seven 
in the evening, and consists of as substantial fare as the breakfast, 
with the addition of cold fowl, ham, &c. The price of boarding 
at these houses is from a dollar and a half to two dollars per day. 
Brandy, Hollands, and other spirits, are allowed at dinner ; but 
every other liquor is paid for extra. English breakfasts and teas, 
generally speaking, are meagre repasts compared with those of 
America; and as far as I had an opportunity of observing, the 
people live, with respect to eating, in a much more luxurious 
manner than we do, particularly in the great towns and their 
neighborhoods. But their meals, I think, are composed of too 
great a variety, and of too many things, to be conducive to health ; 
and I have little doubt but that many of their diseases are engen- 
dered by gross diet, and the use of animal food at every meal. 
Many private families live nearly in the same style as at these 
houses, and have as great variety upon their tables. Formerly, 
pies, puddings, and cider used to grace the breakfast table : but 
they are now discarded from the genteeler houses, and are found 
only at the small taverns and farm houses in the country." 

86 Recollections of Albany. 

and hotels since Mr. Gregory's day, and am 
forced to acknowledge, that on the score of 
gent-lemanly habits, politeness, and courtesy 
among their guests, and in reference also to the 
civility of their keepers and waiters, the present 
bears no comparison with the past. The inmates 
• of the best hotels of the present day, are as 
varied in their aspects, habits and character, 
as were the motley herd that took lodgiiigs in 
the ark ; while of their keepers and waiters, the 
best that can be said, is, that they are in" keeping 
with the character of their company. An oc- 
casional exception does but strengthen the rule. 

It was at the Tontine that I became acquainted 
with man}^ of the leading politicians and dis- 
tinguished men of the state. It was there I tirst 
saw De Witt Clinton, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron 
Burr, Doctor Mason, Morgan Lewis, Daniel D. 
Tompkins, John Armstrong, Chancellor Livings- 
ton, and many others. It was while there, I had 
the opportunity and the pleasure of examining, 
leisurely, and with a critical eye, that lightest 
twig of the great Corsican tree, Mr. Jerome 
Buonaparte; and of observing the fine form, the 
careless, abandoned air, and soldierly aspect of 
the celebrated Moreau, the rival at once of 
Xenophon and Napoleon. The Tontine was, 

Recollections of Albany. 87 

indeed, for several years, my local observatory, 
from which I watched the transit of the political 
planets, and noted the restless movements of the 
wandering stars. It was in fact, the best school- 
house I ever entered, and the only one, I am 
sorry to say, in which I ever took much delight. 

I cannot resist the temptation (though I know 
I shall make nothing of it) to relate a ludicrous 
circumstance which took place at the Tontine, 
in the summer of 1804. I am well aware that 
many a good joke has been spoiled, and many a 
laughable incident rendered grave, by an attempt 
to put them on paper. ' Tis useless, said Doctor 
Johnson, to print Quin's jokes, unless you print 
his face with them. ^Nevertheless, I shall venture 
to relate the circumstance to which I have referred. 
I shall call it 


Among the many foreigners at the Tontine in 
the traveling season of 1804, w^as a French gen- 
tleman by the name of Garrot, apparently about 
twenty-five or thirty years of age ; remarkable for 
the simplicity of his manners, for his taste in music, 
and for his inability to speak a word of English. 
His personal appearance was greatly in his favor ; 

88- Recollections of Albany. 

being stout, well made, and of a most agreeable 
countenance. Sitting near him at table, and speak- 
ing a little French, I soon became acquainted with 
him. He was as I found a German bj birth, born 
in Frankfort, but a resident of Nantes. He remained 
several months in the city, was flush of money, and 
liberal, not to say profuse, in his expenditures. 

His object, if indeed he had any, was to obtain 
information as to the form and character of our 
government; the institutions and condition of the 
country; its extent, population, trade, commerce, 
agricultural products, arts, manufactures, &c., &c. 
Of all the travelers I had ever met with, he was 
the most inquisitive. He asked ten thousand ques- 
tions about things of which I knew nothing, or 
next to nothing — questions, some of which would 
have puzzled Chief Justice Marshall, Mr. Madison, 
Mr. Clay, or Mr. Anybody Else, save John Quiucy 
Adams, to have answered off-hand. But as I per- 
ceived he entertained a high opinion of my abilities, 
I had not the heart, nor was it indeed my business, 
to undeceive him. I was ashamed to confess igno- 
rance upon any imni, and therefore gave him prompt 
and specific answers to each and every question let 
it relate to what it might: but the mischief of it 
was they were all taken for gospel, and immediately 
noted down in his tablets. 

Recollections of Albany. 89 

I could not but laugh at the idea. It was, perhaps, 
unfair on my part, but \.\\q fault was his. To suppose 
a young man of twenty-two or three, of sufficient 
authority for the history and statistics of an empire, 
WTiS absurd. He should have known better. Many 
a book, however, has been written upon information 
of an inferior quality to that which I furnished 
Mons. Garrot, and from a less rational, not to say 
reliable source. It was through the priests and poets 
of Egypt and Assyria, that Herodotus obtained the 
materials for his famous history ; and who thinks 
the less of his history on that account? The credu- 
lity and child-like simplicity of the author, together 
with the traditional and poetical character of its 
testimony, constitute, in fact, its greatest attractions. 

But Monsieur Garrot, no doubt, congratulated 

himself upon his good fortune in finding a person 

so full of information, and so ready to impart it. 

On the other side, I did the best I could, under 

the circumstances. I studied day and night to 

prepare myself for Monsieur Garrot's questions; 

and if monsieur published his book, I flattered 

myself that it would be found in the truth of its 

statements' and the accuracy of its details, ixt least 

equal to the history of Herodotus, or the travels 

of Basil Hall! 


90 Recollections of Albany. 

But this has notliing to do with the circumstance 
■which it was my intention to narrate. It may 
serve, however, as a preface to the story, which 
runs thus : 

Monsieur Garrot and myself, after a long walk 
one Sunday afternoon, returned to the Tontine 
about six o'clock. The Aveather was extremely 
hot ; and as the private parlors below were filled 
with strangers, I accompanied Mons. Garrot to his 
own chamber, where, complaining of the heat, 
he threw ofi" his coat, and, somewhat to my 
surprise, continued the operation of stripping, 
until he came to the last article, over which, how- 
ever, he threw a light silk morning gown — light, 
indeed, as gossamer; this he tied loosely at the 
neck, and then sticking his toes into a pair of 
yellow slippers, began walking backward and 
forward between the window and door, both of 
which were thrown open to admit the air. The 
window looked into the street; the door opened 
into a wide hall, with dormitories on either side. 
"While thus cooling himself in the breeze, which 
swept his loose drapery from side to side, he 
suddenly turned to me and inquired whether I was 
fond of music. I answered, of course, in the 
affirmative. When, without further ceremony, 
he opened a long case filled with musical instru- 

Recollections of Albany. 91 

ments of various kinds, and asked me which I 
preferred. I could hardly believe it possible that 
he really meant to exercise his musical talents 
on that day of the week; but being a little curi- 
ous, and, I must confess, a little mischievous at 
the same time, I pointed to the violin^ which he 
immediately took out, and began to twang and 
tune. The discharge of a twelve pounder in the 
hall would not have set the house in greater 
commotion. The first scrape of the bow brought 
half a dozen chambermaids to the door; who 
catching sight of Monsieur's bare legs, ran down 
stairs, and reported that there was a Frenchman 
fiddling in the chambers, stark naked! By this time, 
my friend Garrot had got fairly a-going; and, with 
his head inclined to one shoulder, and his eye turned 
upwards, stalked up and down the room, fiddling 
as if the devil, together with Apollo and the whole 
nine, were in him. The figure he cut wan so ridicu- 
lous, that I thought 1 should have died in the efibrt 
to suppress my laughter. 

In less than five minutes from the time he began, it 
appeared to me that not less than five hundred heads 
had passed the door, each one catching something 
more than a glimpse of Monsieur's fine form. The 
wind seemed to increase with the music, and the 
stride of the performer became more lofty and ma- 

92 Recollections of Albany. 

jestic. At every turn the morning gown tilled and 
swelled Avith tlie breeze — now waving and flapping 
in the cross current, and now extending out, as it 
were, upon a taught bowline. The hall was literally 
crowded with spectators, and the several questions, 
Who is he ? Where did he come from ? Is he 
mad? were whispered in rapid succession. But 
Mons. Garrot saw nothing but the ceiling of his 
room — heard nothing but the clarion voice of his 
own iiddle. 

I was amazed at his abstraction — at his enthusi- 
asm ; and yet found it difficult to prevent myself 
from laughing aloud. He tiddled with such force 
and energy, that his elbow seemed to move like a 
wdiipsaw driven by steam. I had no idea that 'twas 
in the power of a single instrument to produce such 
a tumult of sounds. 

The Battle of Prague, roared from ten " forty piaz. 
zas" (as Johnny Robison' used to call them) would 
be a mere tinkling, compared with this iqjroar of 
Mons. Garrot's Iiddle. I could not but confess, 
that in variety, force and compass, he surpassed 

1 John Eobison owned the site now called the Museum Build- 
ing, corner of State street and Broadway. This store was a two 
story brick building fronting cornerwise upon the two streets, 
having a hipped roof The owner is remembered principally for 
his jokes. His name appears on the list of freedoms, as tliey were 
termed, admitting a settler to the privileges of citizenship, purchased 
in 1781, at £3 12s. He died 22d August, 1827, and was buried from 

Recollectiuns of Albany. 9 


even my old friend Mr. Giles. This is no light compli- 
ment. A greater, indeed, could not in sincerity 
be paid to the most celebrated performer. 

But Mr. Gregory, at length, made his appearance, 
and as he worked his way through the crowd at the 
door, I could perceive that he was not only angry 
but a little frightened. He w^as about to speak to 
Mons. Garrot, but monsieur was too much engaged 
to take the least notice of him ; he therefore address- 
ed himself tome, and said — "For God's sake, Mr. 
Jones, what is the meaning of all this?" I was so 
full of laughter that I could not speak, and of 
course said nothing. He then turned to Mons. Gar- 
rot, and raised his hand as a sign for him to stop. 
N"ow, Mr. Gregory had no more the appearance 
of an innkeeper than he had of an emperor. It 
was natural, therefore, that the Frenchman should 
consider him as an intruder, and order him out 
of the room; which he did. But it was in French, 
which he perceived Mr. Gregory did not under- 
stand. He therefore collected all the English he 
was master of, and exclaimed, in an offended tone, 

his residence No, 34 Dean street. He owned a garden situated 
upon the great hill that formerly stood where the First Presby- 
terian Church now stands, known as Robison's hill, which the city 
fathers were for some time puzzled how to dispose of, and one use 
proposed was to enclose it and erect a monument to Clinton upon 
it. But it was pulled down, and served to fill a portion of the 
great pasture below Lydius street. 

94 Recollections op Albany. 

"Vat you vaiit?" Mr. Gregory was about to re- 
ply, when monseiur, waving his hand, cried, " Go 
vay ! govay!" and thereupon commenced fiddling 
fiercer than ever. This produced a universal burst 
of laughter ; and so loud and long was the peal, 
(in which I was compelled to join), that monsieur 
paused, and seemed now, for the first time, to be 
sensible that there was an unusual collection in the 
hall, and that something was wrong somewhere. 

The scene at this moment was picturesque in the 
highest degree. There stood Mons. Garrot, in the 
middle of the room, with his fiddle in his hand ; 
his pantaloons hanging upon a chair, and his morn- 
ing gown floating behind him ; looking first at Mr. 
Gregory, then at me, tlien at the cluster of heads at 
the door, utterly at a loss to know what it all meant. 
There stood Mr. Gregory, too, in his neat drab- 
colored coat and Sunday inexpressibles, the very 
impersonation of order, decency and decorum, 
looking at the brawny, half naked Frenchman, 
with wonder and surprise. There, too, was the 
crowd of curious facea, male and female, peering in 
at the hall door; exhibiting every variety of expres- 
sion, from the most serious to the most comic ; all 
staring in profound silence, at the Frenchman and 
his fiddle. It was ridiculous enough ; and had it 
continued a moment longer, it would have been 

Recollections of Albany. 95 

discreditable too. At my suggestion Mr. Gregory 
left the room. I then closed the door, and endea- 
vored to explain to Mons. Garrot the cause of the 
collection in the hall, and the motives of the 
individual who had interrupted him. But I found 
it ditRcult to make him comprehend it, for I was 
not a little puzzled myself to shape the matter in 
such a way as to render the explanation satisfactori/, 
as well as plausible. At length he seemed to under- 
stand it; and taking out his tablets, wrote down 
what I suppose he considered the substance of my 
explanation, and then handed it to me to read. It 
ran thus: — "Americans have very little taste for 
music, and never listen with pleasure to the violin 
on Sunda\ s, except in church !" 

' Tis very well, said I, monsieur; 'tis very well. 

Half an hour afterwards, we walked deliberately 
down stairs, and took our seats at the tea table, as 
carelessly and as composedly, as if nothing had 
happened. But I observed, what Mons. Garrot 
probably did not, that every eye in the room was 
occasionally turned upon him. Though in one 
sense the author of the mischief, and certainly the 
m.ost censurable of the two, yet I received the 
thanks of Mr. Gregory, for having put an end to 
the confusion occasioned by the musical taste of 
Mons. Garrot. 

96 Eecollections of Albany. 

In looking back to the period of 1801, nothing 
impresses itself npon my mind more forcibly, than 
the degeneracy of the race of great men. What a 
diiference between the leading politicians of that 
day and this : between Thomas Jefferson for instance, 
and John Tyler ! If we continue to go down hill 
at this rate, where, I would ask, shall we be likely 
to find ourselves at the end of the nexthalf century ? 

But this is leading ns oif the track: let us go 
back to the Tontine. It is near the breakfast hour, 
and the city boarders, I perceive, are already drop- 
ping in. That well-dressed, handsome-faced gentle- 
man standing upon the stoop, with his hat under 
his arm and a rattan in his hand, is Mr. James Kane, 
of whom you have heard me speak so frequently. 
The tall, spare man, with whom he is conversing, is 
Mr. Walter Clark,'^ a merchant of the city, plain 
and simple in his character and manner, but polite 
and gentlemanly. The person that has just joined 
them, is an exceedingly clever man in his way — a 

^ Wai/per Clark came from Newport, R. I., and was engaged 
in tlie grocery business adjoining the Albany Bank building, in 
what was known as Little-state street. He retired from business 
in 1828, and resided some years later in Columbia street. He 
died in Brooklyn, N. Y., 10th Nov. 1841, aged 63, and hes buried 
with his parents and some other members of his family, in the 
Bath burial ground. Mr. William Mitchell was for many years 
his clerk. He was a bachelor. 

Recollections of Albany. 97 

little self-complacent, perhaps, but a gentleman and 
a wit: the latter he inherited, among other goods 
and chattels, from his father, who had a great deal 
more, by the bye, than he bequeathed to any one. 
He is, as you perceive, extremely civil and polite ; 
but it is rather because he deems it due to himself, 
than to others. His wit, though perfectly good- 
natured, is not scattered at random. It has its mark 
and is always intended to tell. But notwithstand- 
ing this piquancy, and self appreciation, he is a 
clever companion, particularly over a bottle of good 
madeira. His tine rosy face shows this. In short, 
among the gentlemen of the Tontine, Mr. Caldwell^ 
holds no second rank. 

That young man standing in the centre of the 

group on the left, is a Air. , somewhat remark- 

ahle for his flow of spirits and Huency of speech. 
Ho has acquired some reputation in the cit}^ as a 
business man, and is quite a favorite with Mr. Kane. 
He is said to be something of a reader too, and, by 
the aid of a retentive memory, sustains himself in 
the midst of a class of young men, much better edu- 

1 WiLLiAjr Caldwell was the son of James Caldwell, au emiueut 
Albanjr merchant, who died in 1839, aged 83. The son sncceeded 
to his father's business in 1802 in the building now No. 58 State 
street, where he continued to sell groceries, doing up sugar and 
tea with his own liands, and retired in 1821, a wealthy bachelor. 
He resided principally at Caldwell, on Lake George, where he had 
a large estate, and died in Albany, 1st April, 1848, aged 72. 


98 Recollectio^^s of Albany. 

cated tliau himself. He has a disposition to satire, 
which he frequentlj- indiilg-es at the expense of 
others, hnt without any taint of malignity. In his 
open and somewhat random mode of talking, he 
certainly says some things, and tells some truths, 
which it would he difficult for an}^ person to utter 
without giving oifence. He has the advantage, too, 
of heing older, if not ahler, than he looks; and, 
under the guise of a frank and heedless manner, 
is keenly observant of the conduct and character of 
those around him. I have no doubt that he has, at 
this moment, in his portfolio, a full length portrait, 
not only of many ofhis personal friends and acquaint- 
ances, but of most of the distinguished men of the 
state. But he is no scholar and cannot give to his 
sketches an abiding interest. 

That plain but gentlemanly looking man, now 
talking with Mr. Kane is Mr. Sedgwick,^ a mem- 
berof the bar, and one of the most promising young 
men in the city. His character may bo read in bis 
conntenance : in which, I think, you ma}' also read 
that he is from Massachnsetts. He brino-s with him 
the advantages of family reputation, character, and 

1 Theodore Sedgwick died at Pittsfield, Mass., of apoplexy, 
while attending a political meeting, 7th Nov., 1839, aged 60. He 
was the eldest son of Judge Sedgwick, a distinguished statesman 
of Massachusetts, was graduated at Yale college in 1798, and 
resided in Albany until about 1821, when he removed to Stock- 
bridge, Mass. 

Recollections of Albany. 99 

talents; and sustains these antecedents by personal 
merit, puritj' of mind and cleverness of manner. 
He is the professional partner of Mr. Ilarmanus 
Bleecker,' a gentleman of sterling merit, and withal 
the best Dutch scholar in the city. 

By the bye — but let ns walk on — it has often 
occured to me, that next to the good fortune of 
being born lohite, or, in other words, of not being 
born a squalid Esquimaux on the frozen coast of 
Labrador, nor yet a woolly-pated negro, in the burn- 
ing wilds of Seuegambia — next, I repeat, to this 
good fortune is that of having been born in a Chris- 
tian country, and of a good faynihj. He that does 
not appreciate his escape from the wretched condi- 
tion of savage life or slavish negroism, and is not 
impressed with the advantages of Christain nativity 
and fixmily distinction, has no sense of indebtedness 
to providence, or no feeling of gratitude in him. 
In using the term good family, I have no reference 
to wealth ; for wealth, as we all know, is not only 
within the reach, but often in the possession of the 
meanest of mankind. A good family, in the ordi- 
nary sense of the phrase, is a family of good cha- 
racter, distinguished for talent or patriotism, or at 

^ Habmanus Bleecker was a descendant of the celebrated Jan 
.Jansen Bleecker ; was born 9th Oct., 1779 ; married late in life, 
while minister at the Hague, Sebastiana Cornelia Mentz, of Hol- 
land; he died 19th .July, 1849, aged 70. {See Annals of Albamj , 1, 276). 

100 Recollections of Albany. 

least free from the touch or taint of dishonor. By 
way of illustration, permit me to say, that had my 
ancestors, upon either side, been tories of the revo- 
lution, I should neverhave ventured to boast of my 
descent from a good family: on. the contrary, I 
should have considered the toryism as a stain upon 
the family escutcheon, .vhich it would require the 
patriotism of at least two generations to wipe out. 
But this, you will say, is a compound of pride and 
prejudice. It may be so; but the pride is of that 
species which has some dignity in it, and the pre- 
judice is of that family of the plant which is worth 

Pride, my dear madam, is a more powerful pas- 
sion of the mind than ambition itself. The one 
may lead us to seek the bubble reputation, even in 
the cannon's mouth; but the other crosses and con- 
trols the vicious impulses of our nature, steps in 
between the tempter and the crime, holds back the 
hand from the forbidden fruit, and balks the devil 
in his efforts to corrupt us. Though in no degree 
allied to morality or principle, yet it often operates 
in conjunction with them, and not unfrequently 
supplies their total absence. It must be remembered 
that we are not all armed alike ; and in this warfare 
with evil, it becomes us to make use of such arms 
as we possess. 

Recollections of Albany. 101 

But this is a digression — let us go back to our 


Among other waifs upon the common of life, 
witli which I came in contact in those days, was an 
old and veritable French marquis, by the name of 
Du Barraille. He was one of those unfortanate 
loyalists who were driven into exile by the French 
revolution. He held the commission and rank of 
colonel in the king's guards, and had tied his 
country with nothing but loyalty in his head and 
nothing but the order of St. Louis in his pocket. 
He had wandered through the West India islands, 
thence through the Canadas, and tinally found his 
way through Lake Champlain and the head waters 
of the Hudson, down to Albany. By this time, his 
resources were completely exhausted, every trinket 
had been put in requisition — his gold snuffbox, 
his diamond ring, even his sword, as he said, had 
been pledged to the brokers or pawned to the Jews. 
The cross of St. Louis he had received from the 
hand of his royal master, and therefore could not 
part with it without dishonor. While in the West 
Indies, he had, probably with a view to mend his 
fortunes, married the daughter of a wealthy planter ; 
but owing to some eruption or revolution, the for- 

102 Recollections or Albany. 

tune \vas lost, and notliiug remained on his arrival 
at Albany, save the aforesaid cross of St. Louis, 
madame, and two children ! The marquis was an 
educated, well bred, and gentlemanly man ; familiar 
with English literature, and spoke the language 
suthciently well. Madame could boast of none of 
these adv^antages. She was bred upon a plantation, 
and spoke no language but the Creole. Yet she 
was a respectable and kind-hearted woman. 

On ascertaining the character and circumstances 
of the marcpiis, the young gentlemen of the city 
came to his rescue. 'Twas evident that his only 
recourse was to open a school and teach the French 
language : this they advised ; and to enable him to 
carry it into execution hired a house, furnished it 
themselves, put him into it, and some eight or ten 
of them entered their names as pupils of the mar- 
quis and boarders at the Hotel Du Barraille. But 
with the exception of one or two, the study of the 
French language formed no part of their amuse- 
ments. The principal object of the move, was to 
keep the marquis from starving, and in doing which 
they came pretty near starving themselves; for the 
marquis had never been in the commissary depart- 
ment, and was rather an awkward sort of landlord. 
They stood it, however, about six months, and then 
broke up, paid the rent and tuition for the year, 

Kecollections op Albany. 103 

and returned to the Tontine, from whence they 
came, with as little imrlevous in them as they had 
when they left it. Those six months, however, 
were by no means thrown away. They were, in 
fact, the m0'?t memorable in the annals of their 
lives : never before, were there so many events and 
circumstances, so much fun and frolic, so much 
poetry, music and eloquence, crowded into such a 
narrow space of time. Every language was studied 
in the school but the French, and every art was 
practised in the kitchen but the art of cooking. 
If that which was contemplated was never done, 
much certainly was done that was never contemplat- 
ed. But with all their whims and irregularities, 
the old marquis was proud of his pupils, and fond 
of their company ; though he preferred claret, he had 
no particular antipathy to a glass of madeira. We 
had, of course, the history of the revolution over 
and over, with anecdotes of distinguished charac- 
ters, civil and militar}' . But what amused us most, 
was the gravity with which the old loyalist would 
talk of the restoration of the Bourbons. He spoke 
of it as though it was a matter of course, waiting 
onlv the destined hour. And all this too, at the 
very time when ISTapoleon was master of more 
thanhalf of Europe ; when thrones, and crowns, and 
principalities, and powers, were made and unmade 
by a dash of his pen, or the word of his mouth. 

104 Recollections of Albany. 

We laufflied in our sleeves at what we considered 
the old num's folly : and the " restoration of the 
Bourhons," became a jest and a bye word. And 
vet, "tell it not in Gath," the Bourbons were re- 
stored, and the old marquis, as he always believed 
he should, returned to France? But, before that 
joyous hour had arrived, his resources were exhaust- 
ed and his fortunes had fallen to their lowest ebb- 
The greater part of his scholars had never entered 
his school room, and had now ceased to pay. The 
Hotel Du Barraille Avas of course abandoned, and 
he rented a small house in a cheap and dirty street 
in the purlieus of Fox creek.^ 

Thither I followed him. For, amid the fun and 
frolic of the first six months, I had barely learned 
to read and translate the language. I now pro- 
posed to learn, if possible, to speak it : since I was 
now the only pupil, and the only boarder. The 
house was a wretched tenement; and the fare, I 
knew, would be still worse. My bill of board and 
tuition was his only means of support. But mad- 
ame was an able economist; and one piece of meat, 

^ Vosnen kll in Dutch ; Foxes creek in English. Always written 
and spoken in the plural it came to be frequently called Fo.veii 
creek. The vernacular having gone to ruin, the old names were 
horribly Englished ; and the creek is lost likewise, being completely 
built over, and scarcely known to this generation, ahhough once 
a notable stream, abounding with salmon even. Fox street, whose 
name pointed out its locality, has been changed to Canal street, 
and all the poetry, ever inspired by its surroundings, is in oblivion 

Recollections of Albany. 105 

generally, carried us tlirougli tlie week. The fare 
was arranged as follows : On Mondruj^ we had the rib 
or joint, roasted ; Tuesday^ the remains of Monda}^ 
were served up nearly as good as new ; Wednesday, 
the fragments were converted into a most palatable 
hash ; Thursday, the hash was warmed over ; Fri- 
day, the bones furnished a rich soup ; Saturday, the 
soup was warmed over ; and on Sunday, — I dined 
out — and the family had, what madame called, a 
picked up dinner, as she was religiously opposed to 
cooking much on that day. 

The breakfast, in the natural order of things, 
should have been mentioned first. It consisted of 
coifee made of parched peas or oats, stale baker's 
bread, and one small Scotch herring for each 
person. The herring was the life and soul of the 
meal. How often did I wish it had pleased the 
marchioness or the gods, to have allowed us two 
instead of one. But each made the most of the one 
he had. I used to begin at one end of mine (it 
was immaterial which), and grind it to powder, 
swallowing every particle, head and tail, bones, fins, 
gills, and gizzard ! Not one atom was left to tell 
the story that a herring had evertouched my plate. 
No indigestion followed : no one while boarding 
with the marquis, was ever troubled with dyspepsy ! 

The tea was a dish of hot water colored with 


106 Recollections of Albany. 

brown sugar, and a crust of dry bread without 
"butter. Yet I never heard a comphxint. On the 
contrar}', I often complimented madame, myself, 
upon the richness of her coffee, and the fine flavor 
of her tea! ivTever, I believe, since the expulsion 
of Adam from the Garden of Eden — never, I am 
certain, since the children of Israel fed upon manna 
in the wilderness, did a family live at so little ex 
pense, and at the same time make so respectable 
a show. 

The old marquis himself, though his whole ward- 
robe would not have sold for five shillings, appeared 
to be dressed in the style of a French nobleman, 
so well did any thing and every thing become him. 
Kate,*a very pretty American girl not over sixteen 
years of age, was his cook and laundress, his 
steward, butler, barber, chambermaid and footman ! 
A single room, of about twelve by sixteen, served 
the whole family, myself excepted, for a kitchen, 
sitting-room, wash-room and bed-room. Yes, in 
that room of all rooms, in which the washing, cook- 
ing and dressing was done, slept the marquis, mad- 
ame, two children, Eate and Osesar ! Csesar, by the 
bye, was the marquis's dog ; and a more loyal brute 
never lived. Like the marquis, he had^the poliiesse, 
the air and dignity of the ancient regime. The 
marchioness never dined with the family, except 

Recollections of Albany. 107 

oil Suiidav, when there was no coinpanj, and 
nothing to eat : but at breakfast and at tea, she 
made her appearance in a style that wonid have 
astonished the mother of mankind. The marquis, 
too, always came forth, fresh as a bridegroom ; his 
boots neatly polished, his hair powdered, his coat 
brushed and buttoned, and his hat under his arm, 
both (marquis and hat) looking as good as new. 
Knowing, as I could not but know, the character 
and condition of the apartment from which they 
issued, it was difficult to conceive bv what means 
such neatness and elegance of appearance could be 
so suddenly produced. On questioning Kate about 
the matter, she confessed that 'twas the work of her 
own hands : that she polished the boots with the 
end of a candle; and that the powder with which 
she dusted the marquis's head, was nothing but 
Indian meal ; that she brushed the coat, rubbed the 
buttons, and fixed the cravat; and then adjusted 
the ruffles of madame. But enough of this. 

I continued to reside in the familv for more than 
six months, in despite of the unpleasant location, 
the wretched apartments and meagre fare. The 
thin oat coffee and spare diet, however, were favor- 
able to the studies I pursued ; and I therefore particu- 
larly recommend them to those who wish to acquire 
a just knowledge of human nature, or a correct 
pronunciation of the French language. 

108 Recollections of Albany. 


I now present tlie reader with the history of the 
last night I passed under the roof of the old mar- 
quis, in this his last place of residence in the city 
of Albany. 

It was late in the evening before I left the mar- 
quis's little room below, and retired to my own. I 
had been listening, as usual, to the tales of the revo- 
lution, and the sufferings of the emigrants, and felt 
no disposition to sleep. The day had been extremely 
hot, and the air was close and sultry. On opening 
my window, I perceived that a thunderstorm was 
gathering in the west, and concluded to sit up till 
'twas over. In the meantime I amused myself by 
translating passages from the Henriad, and trying 
my hand at turning them into English verse. While 
thus engaged, I was startled b}^ an unusual noise and 
agitation below. I could distinctly hear the voice 
of the marquis, and the hasty tread of feet passing 
from one room to another. I was aware that the 
youngest child, a boy about four years of age, had 
been unwell for some time ; but as no idea had 
been entertained that he was in any immediate 
danger, I concluded that some accident had hap- 
pened, or that some disturbance had taken place in 

Recollections of Albany. 109 

the street. But in less than a minute came a shriek 
from the marchioness, accompanied by the terrify- 
ing exclamation of "Mon Dieu ! Mon Dieul" I 
seized the light, and placing it at the head of the 
stairs, hurried down. The doors were all open ; 
and on entering the room, I was shocked at the 
spectacle it presented. There was madame with 
her clothes half torn off her back — still raving and 
tearing the hair from her head. The old marquis 
was walking about the room, half distracted, wring- 
ing his hands, and ejaculating " Mon pauvre Louis 1 
Mon pauvre Louis !" Poor Kate sat by the cradle, 
crying and sobbing as if lier heart would break. I 
said a few words to the marquis, and endeavored to 
express my sympathy to madame ; but words were 
vain, and sympathy, though recognized, was unavail- 
ing. I walked fearfully to the cradle. It was too true : 
all was over; the child had breathed its last. Its 
look was awful. It lay almost entirely naked, with 
its eyes unclosed. After gazing upon it for a few 
moments, I turned to leave the room, for the scene 
was too painful to bear. At that moment there 
came a flash of lightning, followed by a clap of 
thunder, which shook the house to its very founda- 
tion. Kate turned pale. The words "Mon Dieu !" 
were repeated in a fearful tone by more than one 
voice. Even old Cfesar crawled out from under 

110 Kecolleutioins ov Albany. 

the table, and seating himself upon his hind legs 
pointed his nose up into the air, and gave one of the 
most prolonged and mournful howls that I had ever 
heard. It was with the greatest diiiiculty that 
I could keep my nei'ves steady. I would have 
given a kingdom, if I had one, to have been ten 
miles off. I, however, left the room slowly, and had 
l)ut just regained my chamber, when a large cat, 
with eyes as big as saucers, poked her head into the 
room, and looking me wildly in the face, gave one 
of the most infernal ^om;/.s that was ever heard by 
mortal ears ! Wliere the devil she came from, 
nobody knew. This brought old Cffisar out again, 
and another howl was set up: another flash of 
lightning, and another peal of thunder followed. 
Father Abraham ! said I. But my imagination was 
getting wild. I began to look upon it as the last 
night, or as the foreshadowing type of the last day ! 
Gradually, however, the Heavensbecame more quiet, 
and the sounds of woe less and less audible. At 
length the morning broke: the sun came forth in 
the east ; and the world was again radiant with light, 
and life, and beauty. 

I gave Kate some necessary instructions, and 
leaving the house buried in profound repose, walked 
deliberately down to the Tontine : not exactly, 
however, in that mood of mind in which Adam 

Eecollections oe Albany. Ill 

left the gates of paradise ; nor with the lingering 
step and backward look with which Lot's wife^lefL 
the rich city that adorned the frnitful plain of the 
Pentapolis, but with the returning buoyancy of one 
whose spirits had been depressed by a gloomy tem- 
pest and a night of horrors. 

A few years afterwards I received a letter from 
the old marquis, dated in Paris, But his long cher- 
ished dream of restoration to rank, friends and 
fortune, was never realized. The revolution had 
engulphed all but the" memory of the past, and he 
literally found himself a stranger in the laud of liis 

Some people seem to imagine that all mankind 
are alike. They see no difterence, — and by way of 
proof that there is none, they will tell you that every 
individual of the species (unless he has lived in 
Mississippi) has two eyes : and unless he has been 
in the wars, or on a rail road, has two arms and two 
legs. Beyond these fixtures and appendages they 
never look, never inquire. They note no discrepan- 
cies, no peculiarities, no quips of the imagination, 
no crotchets of the mind ; and they actually go 
through life without ever seeing any thing remarka- 

Others again, though fewer in number, are for- 

112 Recollections of Albany. 

ever on tlie lookout for novelties and diversities, — 
for tlie odd, the eccentric, the ludicrous ; and are 
singularly successful in discovering singular forms 
and combinations — peculiar habits, looks, actions 
and traits of character. With them, no two things 
under heaven are alike — no two men bear any 
resemblance to each other, or to any body else. 

To which of these two classes the writer of these 
reminiscences belongs, I leave to the reader to de- 


Among other curious subjects that attracted my 
attention during the early part of my residence in 
Albany, was a blind old man led about the streets 
by his colored servant. It was Goldsborough Ban- 
yar, a most intelligent, wealthy and respectable old 
gentleman. He was the most perfect type of the 
Anglo-American then living. He was the last of a 
race, or class of men, now totally extinct — a race, 
born in England, grown rich in America, proud of 
their birth, and prouder of their fortune. 

He had been a secretary of state under the colo- 
nial government, and at the breaking out of the war 
of the revolution, very naturally, and the prospect 
considered, very wisely, took sides (but not arms) 
with the mother country. He was a royalist in feel- 
ing, and doubtless in principle — the feelimj, it is 

Eecollections of Albany. 113 

believed, underwent no change; the principle, in the 
course of time, became temperately, and I may add, 
judiciously, modified by his interests. He had, while 
in his oflice of secretary, obtained from the crown 
many large and valuable tracts of land. These 
lands were the sources of his wealth. With the 
eye of intelligence, sharpened by the peculiarity of 
his position, he watched the course of events, and 
like a skilful pilot, steered between the extremes. 
He wisely kept a friend in either port, and had 
always an anchor out to windward. In short, he 
preserved his character from reproach, on the other 
side of the water, and his lands from confiscation on this. 
His mind kept pace with the intelligence of the age. 
He became an American when America became tri- 
umphant, — thought better of republicanism as it 
approximated to power; and finally, without abat- 
ing one jot of his love for the land of his birth, 
came quietly into our political arena under the 
banner of Mr. Jefiferson ! In all this he acted, as 
we think, wisely and prudently. He was no Ameri- 
can at the commencement of the war, but an Eno^lish- 
man, born and bred, with the badges of office and 
of confidence still in his possession. Yet he took 
no part^ — gave no aid, and but little comfort to the 
enemy, for when secretly applied to for advice, he 
sent by the messenger a basket of fruit — and when 


114 Recollections of Albany. 

for wformcdioji, the return was a basket of eggs ! 
He was therefore, no tori/, but merely a judicious 
politician : in which character, if he acquired no 
fame, he at least preserved his reputation and his 
properti/, and merited the thanks of those remem- 
bered in his will. 

He must have been somewhere about three score 
and ten years of age when I first saw him in the 
streets of Albany. He was a short, stout built man, 
English alike in form, in character, and in aspect : 
and at the period to which I refer, infirm, gouty, and 
and nearly blind; but still sound in mind and ven- 
erable in appearance. The colored servant by 
whom he was led, was no unimportant personage. 
He was his man Friday — his man Peter — his all 
in all — for without his aid locomotion was impossi- 
ble. What was not a little remarkable, was the 
fact, that Peter resembled his master in almost every 
particular, save his gout and his blindness. He was 
of the same height and make, as well dressed, nearly 
as old, and quite as grey. He was, moreover, as 
independent, as important and as irritable. At a 
little distance, it was indeed difiicult to tell which 
was master and which was man. 

l!^othing could be more amusing than their con- 
versation and disputes when moving together, arm 
in arm, down Pearl street and across State, to Lewis's 

Recollections of Albany. 115 

tavern,^ — a haunt, to which they resorted daily, 
whenever the weather would permit. It was indeed 
the haunt of a good many other distinguished indi- 
viduals of those days. All the quid nuncs, news 
mongers, segar smokers, and back-gammon players, 
together with a long list of worthies, who were cuu- 
stitutionally thirsty between twelve and one o'clock, 
made Lewis's their head quarters. Could the old 
gentleman have seen all the company there assem- 
bled, listened to their language, and witnessed their 
libations at the bar, he would probably have relished 
their society something less than he did. 

But, be that as it may — in his frequent peregri- 
nations to and from that celebrated tavern, it v^•a8 
my special pleasure (boy like) to throw myself a few 
paces in his rear, and listen to the dialogue that 
was sure to take place between him and his man 
Peter. It was generally in a pretty sharp tone of 
voice, and almost always upon a disputacious key. 
In crossing State street one day, on their return 
from Lewis's, it commenced thus: — Peter, said the 
old man, you're leading me into the mud. There's 
no mud here, says Peter. But I say there is, re- 
torted the old man liercely. I say there aint, said 

^ Lewis's tavern was at this time either tlie corner of Washing- 
ton, now Soutli-pearl and State street, on the present site of 78 
State street. Robert Lewis died June 17th, 1798, aged 73, and was 
succeeded by liis son Stewart Lewis. 

116 Recollections of Albany. 

Peter. D — n it, sir, said the old man, giving Lis 
arm a twitch and coming to a full halt, don't you 
suppose I know the nature of the ground on which I 
stand ? Ko. says Peter, don't spose you know any 
such thing; you on}^ stept one foot off the stones, 
that's all. Well, well, come along then ; what do 
you keep me standing here in the street for? I 
don't keep you, said Peter; you keep yourself. 
"Well, well, come along, said the old man, and let 
me know when I come to the gutter. You are in the 
gutter now, said Peter. The devil I am ! said tlie 
old man ; then pausing a moment, he added, in a 
sort of moralizing tone, there's a worse gutter than 
this to cross, I can tellj'ou, Peter. If there be, said 
Peter, I should like to know where 'tis ; I have seen 
continued Peter, every gutter in town, from the ferry 
stairs to the Patroon's, and there aint a worse one 
among 'em all. But the gutter I mean, said the 
old gentleman in a lower tone, is one which you 
cross in a boat, Peter. 'Tis strange, said Peter, that 
I should never have found it out ; — now, lift your 
foot higher, or you'll hit the curb stone, — cross a 
gutter in a boat! ejaculated Peter, 'tis nonsense. 
'Tis so written down, said the old man. W?itte7i 
down, said Peter ; the newspapers may write what 
they please, but I don't believe a word on't. Pm 
thinking said the old man, they put too much 

Recollections of Albany. 117 

brandy in their toddy there at Lewis's. I thought 
so too, said Peter, when you were getting off the 
steps at the door; and since you've mentioned that 
boat, I'm sure of it. What is that you say? said the 
old man, coming to a halt again, and squaring him- 
self round; you thought so, did you? what right 
had you to think any thing about it ? I tell you, 
Peter, you are a fool ! 

The attitude and appearance of the parties at 
this moment was so whimsical — in fact, so ridicu- 
lous, that I could not restrain myself from laughing 
aloud. Who is that? said the old man, taking 
quietly hold of Peter's arm again. Don't know 
him, said Peter ; spose he's one of the neiv comers. 
'New comers ! said the old man, repeating the phrase. 
Is he old or young, Peter ? Young, said Peter, 
Then I forgive him, said the old man ; and after a 
short pause, added, in a lower tone of voice, Mag 
he never know the misfortune of blindess or the gout. 
iN'everinthe course of my life did I feel so ashamed 
of myself as at that moment. A blow from a 
cane could not have hurt me half as much. My 
j&rst thought was to walk directly up to him, take 
him by the hand and make him an ample apology. 
But to entertain a just sense of what we ought to 
do, is one thing — to do it, quite another. In the 
present case, I was apprehensive that my apology 

118 Recollections of Albany. 

miglit not be accepted ; besides, it was not at his 
infirmities I laughed, but at the singular oddity of 
the scene. I imagined, moreover, that Jeremiah 
himself, had he been present, would have laughed 
at the ridiculous dialogue and still more ridicu- 
lous attitudes of the parties. 

It is impossible, I think, to reflect one moment 
upon the position which Mr. Banyar' occupied dur- 
ing the war of the revolution, and the manner in 
which he sustained himself in it, without conced- 
ing to him a thorough knowledge of the world, 
great sagacity and great address. It is said by those 
who knew him personally, that his manners were 
those of a gentleman, and that he possessed no 
ordinary share of talent and of wit. 

Among other curious things that attracted my 
attention in the ancient city of Albany, just prior 

1 GoLDSBOKOtiGH Banyar died 4tli Nov., 1815, aged 91. He was 
born in England, bnt came to this country in early life, where he 
ever after resided. For many years prior to the revolution, he 
was deputy-secretary of the province, and as the secretary was 
absent, the important and laborious duties of that office were per- 
formed by Mr. Banyar in a manner highly honorable to his talents 
and integrity, and very advantageous to the province. Through 
his very long life he was considered a man of strict and unimpeach- 
able integrity, punctual and faithful in the discharge of his public 
duties, and virtuous and amiable in the private relations of life — 
respected by his numerous acquaintance, and aflfectiouately esteem- 
ed and beloved by his family and friends. His funeral took place 
at St. Peter's church, when a sermon was preached by the Rev. 
Timothy Clowes. 

Recollections of Albany. 119 

to the extinction of the Dutch dynasty, was the 
disproportionate number of okl people. Pearl street 
in particular, was lined with these remnants of the 
olden days. The population of the city was evi- 
dently undergoing a thorough revolution. One 
whole generation — nay, one lohole race, — was then 
on the very eve of passing away, while another, 
of an entirely different character and aspect was 
coming in. But the most attractive pictures to my 
eye, were the aged members of the retiring race. 
Could Solomon have paid a visit to Albany in 
1803 or 4, he would have acknowledged (notwith- 
standing his former assertion to the contrary), that 
there were many things " new under the sun." lie 
would, I think, have found something to admire 
as new and oHginal, even in the antique though un- 
classic model of 


This old gentleman, if tradition may be relied on, 
was something of a lion in his day. He was unusu- 
ally tall, raw-boned, and of a most forbidding aspect 

^ Balthazah Lydius, familiarly known as BaltLydius, was a veiy 
eccentric man. He died ITtliNov., 1815, aged 78, and was the last 
male descendant of his family. His tombstone is seen in the Episco- 
pal burying-ground. His house is said to have been imported 
from Holland, bricks, wood-work, tiles, and ornamented irons, 
with which it was profusely adorned, expressly for the use 
of the Rev. Gideon Schaets, who came over in 1652. It is said 

120 Recollections of Albany. 

— singular in his habits, and eccentric in his char- 
acter — but independent, honest, and gruff as a bear. 
He occupied, at the commencement fo the present 
centurj, the old, and somewhat mysterious looking 
mansion, then standing at the south-east corner of 
North-pearl and State street : and was, of course, next 
door neighbor, in an easterly line, to the old elm tree. 
The house exhibited in its style and order the taste if 
not the pride of its proprietor- Its position admitted 
of two front gables, and two front gables it had ; thus 
rivaling, if not excelling in architectural dignity, 
the celebrated mansion of the Yan der Heyden 
family.^ One front rested on Pearl, the other on 
State. Each had its full complement of outside 
decorative adjuncts — namely, long spouts from the 
eaves, little benches at the door, iron tigures on the 
wall, and a rooster on the gable head. How the 
inside was contrived, nobody knew. The only inha- 
bitants, or at least the only ones that my curiosity 

that tlie materials arrived simultaneously with the pulpit and the 
old church bell, in 1657. It was supposed to have been the oldest 
brick building in North America at the time it was demolished in 
1833, to make room for the present Apothecary's Hall. But there 
is also another version which attributes the building of the house 
rfo the Eev. John Lydius, the ancestor of Balthazar, who came over 
in 1703 ; and that only the timbers which came from Holland and 
were too short for the church, were used in the construction of 
this house. 

1 A genealogy of this family may be found in the second edition 
of Woodworth's Beminiseenees of Troy, pp. 71-74. 
















I ( 



re tr| 

e i=^ 





Kecollections of Albany. 121 

could ever discover, were tlie dark and indomitable 
proprietor, and an old, unmutilated, pale-faced, 
melanclioly looking cat. Nor were these visible to 
any human eye except at particular hours, or under 
peculiar circumstances. 

At the dusky hour of eve, or in the misty grey ot 
the morning, the head, or what was taken to be the 
head, of the old man, was sometimes seen peering 
out of the narrow window in the southern front ; 
while the low, complaining voice of the other inha- 
bitant (when darkness covered the land) might be 
distinctly heard from the turret of the western 
wing. Ko door was ever seen to be open^ — no 
twinkling light gave sign of life within. Even in 
the day time, its dreary aspect conjured up the idea 
of trap-doors and dungeons. At night I never 
passed it without quickening my pace and looking 
sharply about me. Yet from the tax gatherer I 
learned that Mr. Lydius was a man- of property ; 
and the corporation, as a testimonial of his virtues, 
caused his name to be painted on a little board and 
fastened up at the corner of a street in the southern 

^ The Pearl street door is said to have heen used only for the 
egress of the dead. The orgies of a Dutch funeral are fast reced- 
ing from the memory of the living. Few remain who have wit- 
nessed them. The records of the church show tlie expenses of 
the funerals of the church paupers two hundred years ago, in rum, 
beer, tobacco, pipes, «fec. Videlicit Munsell's Historical Collections 
of Albany, i, 40. 


122 Recollections of Albany. 

section of the city."^ It is not improbable that his 
shade is at tliis moment wandering along the sea- 
resounding dikes in the land of his ancestors — the 
once proud and heroic Holland ! 


Nothing could have been more appropriate than 
the Christian name given to these reminiscences, 
since it authorizes the writer to go backward or 
forward, up or down, to the right or left, whichever 
way the capriciousness of memory may incline. It 
relieves him, moreover, from the necessity of observ- 
ing the chronological order of events, or of paying 
indeed any sort of regard to time, other than to 
keep within the -limits prescribed — namely — the 
first eight years of the nineteenth century. 

Passing down !N"orth-pearl street, the next day 
after my arrival in the city, in company with my 

1 The street was named in lienor of Rev. John Lydiiis, who 
preached here from 1700 to 1709. It was the camp ground of the 
British armies in tlie French and Indian wars. Tlie ancient 
clmrcli pasture, which came into tlie possession of the Dutch 
church in 1668, was laid out into lots in 1791, and sold by 
auction. , The streets were named after the domines or ministers 
of that church. Beginning with Lydius steeet on the north, then 
Westerlo, Bassett, Nucella and Johnson, running parallel with 
it. Among those running north and soutli were Dellius (pronounced 
Dallius, and now so written), from Rev. Godfrey Dell, who came 
over ill 1683; Frelinghuyseu, now Franklin, and Van Schee. 

Recollections of Albany. 123 

friend, Col. Elisha Jenkins (with whom I had been 
examining the topography, antiquities and archi- 
tectural curiosities of the town), he proposed to call 
and see an old friend of his, whose name I have 
forgotten, but whose residence I remember was on 
the left hand side, two or three blocks from State 
street. It was to my eye at least, a queer looking 
mansion. It had all the venerable marks of as-e, 
and many of the emblems of Amsterdam stamped 
upon its face. On entering we were conducted by 
a colored female servant through a long, dark and 
narrow hall, into a dimly lighted room in the rear. 
The host struck me as somewhat typical of the 
mansion. He was an aged gentleman, with the 
fashions of other days sufficiently apparent in his 
dress and address. He was seated in a huge arm 
chair, with a red worsted cap on his head, a long, 
loose gown or robe, coming down to his ancles, 
silver buckles in his shoes, and one foot swathed in 
flannel resting upon a stool. 

Though frank and courteous in his manner, there 
was yet an air of consequential dignity about him, 
and a tone of authority in his voice, which w^ould 
have suited the character of Henry VIII. He 
would indeed have furnished an excellent subject 
for the pencil of Hans Holbein. The furred robe, 
the buckles and the red cap, would have made a 
figure in one of Hans's pictures. 

,124 Recollections of Albany. 

There were several gentlemen in the room at the 
time of our entrance, and one or two more dropped 
in afterwards. The principal subject of conversation 
was politics, and I soon perceived they were all 
thorough going Jeifersonians. The recent triumph 
of their party had put them in high spirits. But 
I was particularly struck with the tone and manner 
of the old gentleman. I had neverbefore witnessed 
so much freedom and hilarity tempered Avith so 
much courtesy. Being a mere lad at the time, I 
had, of course, remained silent. The old gentleman 
perceiving this turned to me and said, well my young 
friend, which side are you ? I answered that I was 
not much of a politician, but had made up my mind 
to go with the majority. Ah ha, said he, older 
heads than yours have wisely made up their minds 
to pursue the same course. This I thought rather 
a hit at my friend Col. Jenkins, who had but recently 
joined the dominant party. The old man now turned 
to a tall, quiet sort of personage, who had taken 
no part in the conversation, and said in a loud but 
familiar tone, Peter, Peter, we are becoming rather 
dry, make us, I pray you, something to drink, Peter. 
Peter retired, and in a few minutes returned with a 
glass pitcher (or rather a sort of two quart tumbler 
with a handle to it), filled to the brim, which he 
handed to the old gentleman lirst, who had no 

Recollections of Albany. ' 125 

sooner taken a swallow of it than he called out, Ah, 
Peter, Peter, you have made this 'pretUj loell to the 
north, I can tell you ; hut hand it round Peter, hand 
it round ; and round it went, each one taking a 
hearty pull at it. When it came to my turn, it did 
not pass untasted, for I was curious to know what 
it was made of; so I took a tiff hy wa}^ of gaining 
knowledge, as Eve took the apple. I found it a sort 
of spiced and sugared grog, or what I helieve the 
learned in such matters would call rum toddy. 

This was the first time I had ever seen a company 
of gentlemen drink out of the same cup. It was the 
first time, too, that I had ever heard the phrase of 
"too far to the north " used as a substitute for the 
words too strong. 

But I was in a new latitude, and almost every 
thing I heard or saw, was new to me. The old 
house, the dark andnarrowhall, the singular appear- 
ance of the aged host, the red cap and silver buckles, 
the two quart tumbler, and even the grog itself, was 
new to me. 

The whole scene was many years afterwards 
brought freshly to my mind by reading Halleck's 
song in praise of the beer and the bucktails of 
Tammany Hall. 

I shall certainly be excused for inserting, as a fit- 

126 Recollections of Albany. 

ting close to this article, one stanza of that memorable 

jeu cC esprit. 

" That beer and those Bucktails I'll never forget, 
But oft when alone and unnoticed by all, 
I think, is the porter cask foaming there yet ? 
Are the Bucktails still swigging at Tammany Hall?" 


in tlie course of one of our evenins: conversations 
the old marquis remarked that the English, as a 
nation, had no just notions of politeness : and this 
he attributed to the all-pervading influence of the 
mercantile and trading character of the people. 
The Americans, he said, though more civil than the 
English, imitated or adopted their forms and ceremo- 
nies. In France no gentleman addressed another 
with his hat on, whether in-doors or out. In 
America, as in England, you touch the hat, instead of 
uncovering, as true politeness dictates. This, said he, 
is never seen in France, except in the army, and 
even there the practice is confined to subalterns. 
But in cold and stormy weather, said I, inquiringly. 
'Tis all the same, continued the marquis, politeness 
is a code by which we regulate our conduct, and has 
nothing to do with the weather. It takes no lessons 
from convenience. It cannot be changed or modi- 
fied by any external circumstance. 'Tis very well, 
said I to myself, we shall see how the thing will 

Recollections of Albany. 127 

work. I shall avail myself of tlio first opportunity 
to test the theory of this polite code by reducing it 
to practice. 

ITot long after, in passing down State street in 
tlie midst of a violent snow storm, I saw at some 
distance ahead, the tall form of the old marquis, 
slowly approaching in a zig-zag line,- — the snow 
driving so furiously in his face as to oblige him 
every now and then to tack and veer a little from 
his direct course, to enable him to take breath. 
lN"ow, said I, is the time, and this the fitting occasion, 
to test the virtue of that polite code, of which the 
old gentleman was so recently speaking. Accord- 
ingly, before we came within ten yards of each 
other, I pulled off my hat with' an air of politeness 
seldom witnessed in northern latitudes. The old 
marquis recognized the signal, and doffed his beaver 
at the same moment. As we, met, we came, of course 
to a full stop — both, uncovered, as the code of polite- 
ness dictated. Fortunately, neither of us had an 
umbrella — and the total absence of any sort of pro- 
tection against the elements, rendered our courtesy 
more conspicuous. In our salutations and greet- 
ings, we went deliberately through all the forms — 
shaking hands with the utmost politeness and 
cordiality, bowing right and left at the same time, 
with many very sincere assurances of pleasure at 

128 Recollections of Albany. 

the happy meeting. I made a point of honor to be 
particularly deliberate in my compliments and 
enquiries — Madame, the children, Kate and Caesar, 
were all duly remembered. But no remark about 
the weather escaped either of us. The weather had 
nothing to do with the code, and we had nothing 
to do with the weather. People in the mean time 
were looking out of their shop windows at us, and 
watching our polite ceremonies with perfect astonish- 
ment. But there we stood, in the midst of the 
drifting snow, as unconcerned as if it had been a 
summer's morning, bowing and scraping, with our 
eyes and ears filled with the drift, and our hair fro- 
zen into wisps and whistling in the wind. But we 
paid no attention to such small matters, nor to the 
people in the shops, who, from the very politeness 
of our movements, began seriously to suspect that 
we were in reality cracked : for the Albanians, being 
mostly Dutch, had in truth but little better notions 
of politeness than the English themselves. After a 
while, however — after having exhausted the whole 
budget of compliments and talked over the news of 
the day ; after having touched upon the prolific 
topic of Buonaparte and the Bourbons, and discussed 
the merits of French and English literature, Pope, 
Boileau, Fenelon, Massillon and Moliere, we pre- 
pared to take leave ; and having made our several 

Eecollections of Albany. 129 

bows and conges, we thumped the snow ont of our 
hats, and repeating tlie usual parting phrase, au 
plaisir, monsieur,'" without further ceremony, separat- 
ed, and resumed our respective courses — I scudding 
before the gale under bare poles down the street, 
the old marquis, brailed and buttoned to tlie chin, 
beating slowly to windward up the hill ! 

Though the old gentleman, during the iete a fete, 
suffered no sign of impatience to escape him, yet 
I strongly suspect he must have wished the whole 
theory of civilization, the special code, and his polite 
pupil, to the devil, forty times over, before we 
parted ! 


It w^as reasonably to have been expected, that 
before closing these reminiscences I should give 
some further account of the young gentlemen who, 
under the pretext of studying French, but in reality 
from motives of charity and the novelty of the thing, 
became pupils of the marquis, and boarders at the 
Hotel Du Barraille. It was my intention to give 
a full length portrait of each and every member of 
that celebrated school, but, upon reflection, it would 
occupy more time than I can now spare, and more 
space than my present canvass will admit. Besides, 


130 Recollections of Albany. 

the time has gone by, when such an exhibition 
would be interesting. Many of them have long 
since passed away, and few remain, to whom their 
features w^ould be famihar. The light that shone 
in their chambers is extinguished — their halls are 
desolate — their dwellings are dark! I shall there- 
fore content myself by collecting a few loose stones 
to set up in this place (after the manner of the pa- 
triarchs of old), as a memorial of their good-fellow- 
ship, and as a testimony to their whimsicalities 
forever ! In other words, I shall furnish the reader 
with a brief compilation of their personal peculiar- 
ities, tastes, talents and acquirements : and if this 
should fail to perpetuate their memories, it will be 
the fault of the compiler, and not of the materials 
from which it is complied. 

Their names on the muster roll of the school 
were ranged in alphabetical order, and by a singu- 
lar coincidence, their talents were found to corre- 
spond with their rank or position on the roll — 
descending the lettered ladder by regular gradation 
from A to K, inclusive. I shall speak of them in 
the same order, and as briefly as is compatible with 
the courtesy due to old acquaintance, or as may be 
consistent wuth a just enumeration of their various 

Mr. A was a good English scholar, had a smat- 

Eecollections of Albany. 131 

tering of Latin, was master of the Frencli and 
familiar with all its dialects — patois, Creole and 
Canadian. Wrote poetry, read German, and spoke 
Dutch. Was a good sailor, skilled in nautical lore 
and learned in its technicalities — understood the 
theory of gun boats as well as Mr. Jefferson him- 
self, and could manage a canoe to perfection. He 
was a skillful angler, full of piscatory science, and 
familiar with all its tackling — poles and hooks 
and flies ! He had a taste for drawing and paint- 
ing — knew Shakespeare by heart — studied medi- 
cine, read the psalms, and played upon the fiddle. 
He was, moreover, a great sportsman and a capital 
shot — knew all about double barrel and single 
barrel, in cover or on the wing. Knew the habits 
of all sorts of game — wild goose, duck, plover, 
woodcock, snipe, hedge hog, fox and bear. Knew 
all the points of a horse, and spoke the classic lan- 
guage of the turf as fluently as his mother tongue. 
Was fond of dogs (as dogs were of him) but detested 
puppies. He was also a perfect master of fence — 
broad sword, small sword, quarter staff" and cudgel. 
Knew something of mathematics, and something 
also of music — was a great mimic, a great quiz, 
and could tell a story better than any other man 
living. In addition to these few particulars, I may 
add, that he was a gentleman in every aspect — in 

132 Eecollections of Albany. 

feeliii_^, address and manner — that he always walked 
with a cane, and was always accompanied by Sweet- 
heart, Blanche and Tray. 

Mr. B understood men and thino:s in ireneraL 
and politicians in particular, better than any other 
member of the club. He was something of a writer 
and something of a reader. He had a taste for 
satire, a great flow of animal spirits, some w4t and 
a good memory. Was fond of poetry, music, fun, 
trigonometry and backgammon. "VVas a great 
talker, but talked well. A good listener, but im- 
patient of folly. His strength lay in his good sense 
— his weakness iu an undue fondness for poetry. 
He was a good judge of character, and knew every 
body's weak side but his own. He was in short a 
man of business with a literary taste — uneducated, 
but well read — quick in his perceptions, just in his 
conclusions, ready, apt, and of a lively imagination. 

Mr. C was a hard student, well educated, well 
informed — had a full share of common sense, but 
no wit, no tact, no taste — was no lover of music 
or of poetry. Had no objection to- fun, provided 
the unities of time and 2>/«ce were observed. His 
knowledge was respectable, sound, useful. He 
belonged to the school of utilitarians — out of that 
pale he never traveled but against his will. He 
was fond of argument and a good dinner of lob- 

Recollections of Albany. 133 

sters, logic, and law. Ho loved prudence, economy, 
new cider, green peas, and a beef steak garnished 
with onions. On the other hand, he had an uncon- 
querable dislike to a tailor's bill, a beggar, and a 
cat ! He was, however, a reliable man, punctual, 
regular, methodical, and as upright as a doric 

Mr. D was perhaps the best educated, certainly 
the most accomplished of all the marquis's scho- 
lars. He had, moreover, the reputation of being 
the handsomest man in tlio city. He -had a fine 
face, a fine tone of voice, an admirable form, agree- 
able manners, an easy lounging gait, and great 
good humor. He dressed well, danced well, was 
particularly fond of music, and though he could 
not disthiguish one tune from another, was capi- 
tal in a chorus. He was somewhat indolent, but 
good hearted, liberal, unaffected, and unpretending. 
He gave himself but little concern about the ordi- 
nary concerns of life, and with the extraordinary/ he 
had nothing to do. 


He was fresh from college, and of course pro- 
foundly read and liberally learned. He knew the 
first three lines of Virgil by heart — knew some- 
thing of Cornelius Nepos, and something of Ctesar. 
Had heard of Demosthenes, of Homer and Hero- 
dotus, perhaps of Xenophon and Xerxes, of Plato, 
and of Plutarch. But the ancients did not, I be- 

134 Recollections op Albany. 

leive, occupy all his thoughts — he loved the 
younger and the gayer world. He loved wit, he loved 
music, and what is more to the purpose, he loved 
fan in all its endless varieties, forms and phases: 
And to this last article he contributed his full share; 
he added largely to its capital stock, and still more 
liberally to its circulation. 

Mr. E was one of those polite and quiet men 
who win their way by gentleness, rather than by 
force. What others claimed as a matter of right, 
he received as a special ftivor. Though uninitiated 
in party politics, and iudiflerent to the rule by 
which the right is determiiied, he nevertheless went 
with the majority. He was always with the many, 
never with the few. He admired power, strength, 
wealth, dress, fashion, taste and show. He paid the 
profoundest deference and respect to men in high 
stations, and wisely measured their talents by their 
rank. His knowledge was rather exact than exten- 
sive, but his good nature, politeness and comiesy, 
knew no bounds. His colloquial powers were not 
great, but he was an excellent listener, and laughed 
at every joke, whether he understood it or not. He 
took no part in any sharp discussion, trod upon no 
man's toes, and differed with no man in opinion, at 
least not audibly. He sung a good song, took les- 
sons in dancing, wore kid gloves, and played upon 

Eecollections op Albany. 135 

the flute. With such a happy temper of mind, and 
such amiable qualities, it would be needless to say 
that he was a universal favorite. 

Though there was much in the character of Mr. 
E to which a proud mind would object, yet I must 
confess that I looked upon it with some degree of 
admiration, and occasionally with a feeling border- 
ing upon env3^ He was certainly the most amiable, 
and by far the most popular man in the club. 

Mr. F made no pretensions to scholarship of any 
kind. He knew nothing of Greek, Latin, French 
or German. He had read but little beyond the 
Pentateuch, day book and ledger. But he had good 
sense, good nature, and mother wit in abundance. 
It may easily be imagined that he had no taste for 
poetry and no skill in music. Yet, like Mr. D, his 
voice was admirable in a chorus. He borrowed 
nothing- from others, nothing from books. His 
powers and resources were all his own. He uttered 
nothing that smelt of the lamp — though it some- 
times had the flavor of the shop. Ease, humor, droll- 
erv, a love of wit and a love of fun, characterized 
his social intercourse. He was perpetually saying 
good things, and sometimes, I used to think, with- 
out knowing it. He was, in short, not only witty 
himself, but the cause of wit in others. A bettex' 
hearted man never lived. 

136 Eecollections of Albany. 

Mr. G was, in one sense, the lion of the dub. He 
was, indeed, one of a thousand ! in other words, 
a most singiihir character, a most perfect original. 
He possessed one quality, one single trait, com- 
posed partly of mind and partly of manner, which, 
like Aaron's rod, swallowed np all the rest. It was 
assuranee — or, more correctly speaking, miimdence ! 
which, but for its unbounded excess, would have 
been ofi'ensive, if not intolerable. It was neither. 
It was indeed so striking, so transcendental, as 
seemingly to partake of the character of genius. 
It seemed, in him, to lose the vulgarity of its nature 
and to operate like wit. Its exhibition was indeed 
almost always followed by a roar of laughter. 

The voice,' the eye, the whole face, indeed the 
whole man, was the expressive type of cold, impas- 
sive, unabashed and unabashable impudence. Yet 
it had weio-ht, it had character, it had influence. 
It was surprising, astonishing, amusing. Notwith- 
standing the absurdity of the assertion, proposition 
or speech, in which this peculiar trait was embodied, 
it was so strengthened and sustained by the air of 
confidence with which it was uttered, that you 
were led to doubt for a moment the correctness of 
your own conclusions, thinking it possible there 
might be in it something more than appeared upon 
the face of tlie record. 

Recollections of Albany. 137 

He was not, however, altogether destitute of 
other and more agreeable qualities, but thej- were 
lost in the blaze of the virtue we have attempted 
to describe. He was rather good natured than 
otherwise, full of crochets and inventions provoca- 
tive of mirth, and to one who sought amusement 
only, was an agreeable companion. 

He had received a college education, and could 
write his name ! 

Mr. H was a gentleman in every respect, but 
without any strong points of cahracter, preculiari- 
ties, fiiults or follies. He played an excellent game 
of whist, talked to his horse, read Ossian and the 
Canticles, loved music, and entered cordially into 
all the amusements of the club. 

Mr. I was placed by ballot at the head of the 
table as carver and master of ceremonies, which 
station (particularly when there was no company 
present and the principal dish was a cutlet of liver 
or a l)Owl of soup) he filled with distinguished 

Mr. K, the last name upon the muster roll of the 
school — the least and the humblest, I shall leave 
to the imagination of the reader. It does 
conie me to draw my own portrait. 

Xow, it would be doing great injustice to the 

marquis's pupils, to dismiss them with such a bare 


138 Recollections of Albany. 

and skeleton-like ennmeration of their tastes and 
qualities, as is presented in the foregoing sketches. 
From such loose outlines and unconnected details 
their real characters cannot justly be inferred. The 
union of such elements mio-ht or mio'ht not have 
been favorable. The moral aspect, the combined 
inHuence, the general result is still wanting. That 
result, in mj judgment, was highly creditable. 

That there was much social freedom, wild wit, 
humor, song, and youthful jollity among them, I 
readily admit : but there was a counterpoise to this 
— there was something higher and better. There 
was a high sense of honor, a pride of character — 
ambition, emulation, and effort. There was much 
close and varied reading, much laborious study. 
More than one language was cultivated, more than 
one species of knowledge acquired. Composition 
was practiced, and poetry studied as an art — 
the latter was indeed assiduously cultivated as a 
vehicle of satire and of wit. A suthcient know- 
ledge of French was obtained, by those who pur- 
sued the study, to read and translate it with ease. 
To speak it was found to be a very different thing — 
the time was too short, the opportunities too few — 
it was, in fact, commenced too late in the day. But 
the door to French literature was opened, and to 
be able to read Moliere in the original, even if no- 

Recollections of Albany. 139 

thing else had been gained, was wortli all the time 
we spent at the school. 

In all these various studies and pursuits, as well 
as in all the amusements of the club, good man- 
ners, good habits, and a gentlemanly tone of feeling 
were observed. Temperance, notwithstanding the 
goblets that occasionally figured in our songs, was 
the order of the day — the voluntary, unpledged 
habit of each and of all. We should ns soon have 
thought of sharpening our wits by profanity as of 
drawing our inspiration from the glass. 

Page 19, note, for MinA-housen, read Miuc^housen. 


Ailauis, John Quiiicy, 88. 

Albany, in 1800, 20, 21',; popu- 
lation atdiffeient periods, 20, 
in 1695,22; beef (sturgeon), 
24; inveterately Dutch, 27; 
chamber of commerce, 49; 
trade with the far west, 50; 
churches in 1790, 74 ; in 1803, 
80 ; Gazette, 72 ; Register, 
71, 72. 

Alexander, .Joseph, 49. 

Ames, Ezra, 41 

Anglo-xVmerican tj^pe, 112. 

Annals of Albany, 71. 

Apothecary's Hall, 120. 

Arbor Hill, 44. 

Armstrong, John, 86. 

Arnold, Gen., 45. 

Ash-Grove church, 53. 

Assemblies, city, 34, 35, 36, 38. 

Bank of Albany, 06, 83; presi- 
dent of, 43, 44, 56. 

Banyar, Goldsborough, 112,118. 

Barber, John, 73; Robert, 71, 

Barnard, Daniel D., 43. 

Bassett street, 122. 

Battle in State street, 78. 

Bell of the old church, 120. 

Benedict, Lewis, 49. 

Bleeckers, 45; Harmanus, 99; 
Jan Jansen, 99. 

Bloodgood, Francis, 78, 79. 

Boileau, 128. 

Bourbons, 128. 

Boyd, John I., 48; Deter, 48. 

Bradford, John Melancthon, 75. 

Brass knocker, 24. 

Broad street opened, 53. 

Broome, Lieut. Gov., 69. 
Buckingham, traveler, 43. 
Buonaparte, 128 ; Jerome, 86, 
Burgoyne, Gen , 59, 60. 
Burnet, Gov , 57. 
Burr, Aaron, 86. 
Cssar, 128. 
Caldwell, James, 91 ; town of, 

97 ; William, 97. 
Camp-ground, 122. 
Canada invaded, 45. 
Canal bank, 50. 
Caps, red worsted, 25. 
Chamber of commerce, 49. 
Champlin, John, 79. 
Chandler, Col. John, 81. 
Chicago, trade with, 50. 
Churches, first in Albany, 74. 
Cincinnati, Becollections of, vi. 
Clarke, Walter, 49, 96. 
Clinton, Col. Charles, 69; De 

Witt, 64, 69, 86 ; George. 57, 

Clowes, Rev. Timothy, 118. 
Cohoes, 20. 

Congregational church, 74. 
Congress Hall, 82. 
Conspiracy of the nobles, 36, 

Cooper, Dr. Charles D., 78, 79; 

Mrs., 78. 
Corning, Erastus, 48, 49. 
Cornwallis, 81. 
Delavan, Edward C, 47; Henry 

W., 47 ; House, 45. 
Delfthaven pilgrims, 30. 
Dell, Rev. Godfrey, 122. 
Detroit river, 26; trade with, 




DeWitt, Simeon, 41, 79. 

Dickinson, Benjamin, 47. 

Douglass, Alfred, 50. 

Douws, 45. 

DuBarraille, Marquis, 101. 

Dummer, George, 49, 50, 51. 

Dutch Churcb, Middle, 39; 
North, 25; old, 28, 30, 39, 
40; funerals, 121. 

Dutchmen, smoking, 2G 

Eagle Tavern, 82. 

Eclipse of 1806, 41. 

Elm tree, 25. 

English travelers, traits of, 19. 

Episcopal church built, 39. 

Erie Lake, 26. 

Etsbergers, 24. 

Fearon tr.aveler, 19. 

Fenelon, 128. 

First Presbyterian church, 48. 

Foote, Ebenezer, 79. 

Fort Edward, 58. 

Fort Orange, 28. 

Fort Stanwix, view of, 45, 58. 

Fort AVinnebago, trade with, 50. 

Fox creek, 104. 

Franklin and Van Schee, 122. 

Freedoms of the city, 82 ; form 
of, 33. 

Frelinghuysen, now Franklin 
street, 122. 

French politeness, 126. 

Front doors, 24. 

Fur traders, 26. 

Gansevoort, Gen. Peter, 45. 

Garrot, Monsieur, 87. 

Gates, Gen., 59. 

Genet, Edmond Charles, 70. 

Giles, Mr., 93. 

Gold, Thomas 11., 79. 

Gould, Job, 47 ; Thomas, 47,48. 

Green Bay, trade with, 50. 

Gregory & Co., 50. 

Gregory, Ezra, 80, 87 ; House, 
81 ; Lieut., 82; Dea. Mat- 
thew. 80, 81, 84 ; Moses, 81 ; 
Mattliew, vi, 93, 94, 95. 

Gutters introdviced, 31. 

Hale, Daniel, 46. 

Hall, traveler, 19, 

Hamilton, Alexander, 64, 86. 

Hats, cocked, 25. 

Henry, .John V., 70. 

Hochstrasser, Jifcob, 45 ; Paul, 

Hodges dock,23. 

Holbein, Hans, 123. 

Hotel Du Barraille, 129, 

Howe, Lord, 57. 

Hudson, Recollections of, v. 

Huguenots of France, 55 ; pro- 
tected, 30, 

Huron Lake, 26. 

Hutton, Isaac, 49; George, 49. 

Improvements began, 39. 

Irving, Washington, 35. 

Jamestown, 21. 

James, AVilliam, 46. 

Jav, Gov., 62 

Jefferson's election, 17, 18, 74. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 17 ; called 
the Great Apostle, 18 ; his 
election an epoch, 18 ; com- 
pared with John Tyler, 96. 

Jenkins, Col. Elisha, 70, 78, 
79, 123, 124. 

Jersey City Glass AVorks, 50. 

Jimmy Kane's walk, 53. 

.Johnson, Dr., 87; street, 122; 
Sir .John, 58. 

Jones, Ignatius, vii, 93. 

Kane, James, 46, 51, 52, 58, 
54, 55, 79, 96. 

Kate, 128. 

Kent, James, 66, 69. 

Knickerbackers, orthography 
and derivation of the name, 

Knickei'bocker history, 35, 44. 

Knower, Benjamin, 51. 

La Fayette, Gen., 82; head- 
quarters, 24. 

Lake George, 97 ; expedition 
down, 57. 

Lambert, John, 84. 

Lansingburgh, 84. 

Lansings, 45, 56. 

Lansing, Abraham G., 64, 70; 
Chancellor, 61, 63, 69 ; John 
Jr., 33, 63, 69. 

Levies, Schuyler captain of, 



Lewi.-!, Morgan, 86 ; Robert, 

115; Stewart, 115; Tavern, 

Liquors excluded at Tontine, 

82, 85 
Livingston, Chancellor, 8i'). 
Lj-dius, Balthazar, IIU; Rev. 

John, lliO, 1:^1, 122; street, 

Lyme. 47, 48. 
iMackiuac. 26. 

^IcXauo;hton. Dr. Peter, 47. 
Madison, M., 82. 
Maiden Lane, 23. 
Marcy, William L., 47. 
Marryat, traveler, 19. 
Marvin, Alexamler, 47: John, 

47; Richard. 47: Uriah, 47: 

AVilliara. 47. 
Mason. Dr., 86. 
Massilon, 128. 
Mather, Thomas, 48. 
Mayflower, 30. 
Mechanics and Farmers' Bank, 

V, 52, 73. 
Mentz, Sebastiana Cornelia, 99. 
Merchants, principal, 45, 46. 
Michigan, tr.-ide with. 50. 
Middletown. Ct.. 48. 
JUink/tot/nen, 19, nail M.nchhvii- 
' sen. 

Mohawk river, 26. 
:Moliere, 128. 

Montgomery. Gen.. 45 : suc- 
ceeds Schuyler. 57. 
Munchausen, Baron, 19. 
Munchotf, chaplain, 19. 
Newman, Henry. 49. 
New Netherland. 44. 
New York, first governor, 99 
New York State Bank, v, 48, 

66, 69. 
North Dutch Church, 23. 
North-market street, northern 

limit of. 44. 
North Pearl street, 24, 25. 
Norton, John T., 49. 
Nott, Dr. Eliphalet, vi, 74, 75, 

Nucella street, 122. 
Olcott, Thomas W., t, 43, 44. 

Old people, 119. 
Oneida lake, 26. 
Ontario lake, 26. 
Orphan Asylum. 83. 
Oswego, 26. 
Patroons, 116. 
Pemberton's corner, 29. 
Peter, 114. 115, 110, 117, 124, 

Piatt, Ananias, 84. 
Politeness, French, 126. 
Pontiac, trade with, 80. 
Pope, 158. 

Potter, Bishop Alonzo, 53. 
Presbyterian church, 74. 
Protestants of the Netherlands, 

Pruvns, 45. 
Putfendorf, 26. 
Pulpit, ancient, 30. 
Puritans of New England, 55. 
Quay street, 23. 
Raymond. B. C, 48. 
Reckhows. 24. 
Robison. John, 92. 
Rocbefaucault-Liancourt, 74. 
Rochelle. 30. 

Roger's Biographical Diction- 
ary, 45. 
Romaine, Rev., 75. 
Saginaw bay, 26. 
St. Clair, Gen., 90; river, 26. 
St. Leger, 45. 
Sanders & Ogden, 49. 
Sault St. Marie, trade with, 

Schaets, Rev. Gideon, 119. 
Schuylers, 56. 
Schuyler, Catharina, 61 ; Col. 

Peter. 56; Col. Philip, 57; 

Gen. Philip, 56, 61, 64, 58, 

59: Mrs., 60. 
Sedgwick, Theodore, 98. 
Senegambia, 99. 
Skeensborough creek, 58. 
Southwick, Solomon, 71, 72. 
Spencer Ambrose, 69 ; John, 

48, 49. 
Specht's regiment, 19. 
Spouts abolished, 31, 32, 33. 
Staatses, 45. 



Staats House, 27. 
Stages, early, 84. 
Staiford, John, 49; Spencer, 

48, 49. 
Stanton, George W., 47. 
State dock, 23. 
State street, state of, 33 ; paved, 

84; battle in, 78. 
Stevensen, John, 56 ; House. 

Stewart, Gilbert, 47. 
Street's Council of Revision, 

64, 69. 
Streets named from the donii- 

nes, 122. 
Stringer, Dr., 24. 
Sturgeon, eagerness for, 24 ; 

slip, 24. 
Stuyvesant Landing, 49. 
Tamm.any Hall, 12. 
Taverns, 80. 

Tayler, John, 69, 78, 79. 
Ten Broecks, 65. 
Ten Broeck, Abraham, 43, 44 ; 

Dirk, 44. 
Ten Eycks, 45. 
Ticonderoga, fortress of, 58 
Tillotson, Thomas, 70. 
Tompkins. Daniel D., 69, 86. 
Tontine Coffee House, 54, 8t), 

Townsend, Isaiah, 46, 49. 
Trotter's alley, 48. 
Troy stage, 84. 

Troy, Beminiscences of, 70,120. 
Tucker & Crawford, 48. 
Two steepled Church (see 

Dutch Church). 
Tyler, John, 96. 
Uncle Sam's figures, 21. 
Van Benthuysen, C, v. 
Van Buren, Martin, 56. 
Vanilerheyden mansion, 120. 
Van Loons. 45. 
Van Loon, Peter, 49. 

Van Rensselaer, Elizabeth, 44; 

Gen., 79 ; Jeremiah, 43 ; 

Solomon, 78, 79 ; Stephen, 

43, 44. 
Van Schaicks, 45. 
Van Schaick, Col., 42; John, 

Van Schelluyne, Cornelius, 44 ; 

Dirk, 44. 
Van Twiller, Sir AVouter, 26. 
Van Vechtens, 56. 
Van Vechten, Abraham, 61, 62, 

70, 79. 
Vopsenkil, 104. 
Walsh, Dudley, 46. 
Watering place, 23. 
Watson, Elkanah, 33 ; elected 

constaljle, 82, 34. 
Webb & Dummer, 49. 
Webb, Henry L.. 50; H. L. and 

C. B., 50; John H., 48; J. H. 

and H. L., 49. 
Webster's corner, 25. 
Wendell, Anna, 61 ; Dr. Peter, 

82 ; Gen. John H., 42. 
AVesterlo, Rev. E.. 24; street, 

122 ; street extended. 53. 
AVillard, Dr. S. D,. vi. 
Williams, Elisha. 79. 
Willows on the dock, 24. 
AVilson, John Q., vi. 
Windows, stained, 30. 
Wing, Dr. Joel A., 84; Mat- 
thew Gregory, 83. 
Wood creek, 58. 
Woodworth, John. 70, 79. 
Wooster, Gen., 58. 
Worth, Gorham A., v. 
Wyckoff, Isaac N., 49. 
Wynantskil, 48. 
Yankies in possession, 33. 
Yateses, 56. 
Yates, chief justice, 64 ; Jolin 

A'an Ness, 65: John W., 66 ; 

Robert, 64, 65.